Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Does chocolate milk come from the dark cows?

The Farmer and I have come to realize that education about agriculture is key in this age of misinformation. That’s why, time after time, we’ve agreed to requests from groups who want to come to our farm and see the composting operation, the sheep shearing, or our set-up for rotational grazing. But what we do as individual farmers is just a drop in the bucket. More needs to be done; we need to educate the kids.

Michigan Farm Bureau is doing just that. Last week at the Annual MFB Meeting, around 1,300 city school kids and their teachers were bussed in to see a live animal exhibit. This interactive display, featuring sheep shearing, baby calves, hatching chicks, and more, happens every year at the Annual Meeting.

Kudos to them and all the farmers who take time out of their busy schedules to educate the public. But it takes more than just farmers (approximately 1.6 percent of Americans) to educate the public. Non-farmers can help, too. When you hear or read something slanderously ridiculous like “Did you know that farmers cut off the legs of chickens so that they can’t run around and they only eat and they get fat sooner?” you can gently respond, “Are you sure about that? Where did you get that information? Can you back it up with hard data?” By doing this you are helping to stamp out misinformation.

In fact, I just had a thought. Sometime in the future I’ll focus on misinformation and goofy talk about farming. We’ll call it “Random Weird Non-Facts about Farming Week” and call the newspapers to help get the word out. (Not.)

1 comment:

  1. Your title question is something my kids would ask. :-)

    Yes, I'll gladly do my part to stamp out misinformation as a non-farmer!

    I love that you refer to your hubby as "the farmer". Which of course, he is, but I like the way it sounds too.


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