There are a lot of comments here on the blog that never get published. Why? Because, generally, they break one of the rules contained in my Comment Policy. Even then, however, I usually will post a comment and then respond substantively to it (that is, if the poster tried to make a coherent point).
I have never taken a hateful comment and written an article about it.
Yesterday, this is the comment I received from Brandie:
Brandie’s comment came in response to the editorial I shared regarding the recent GMO ban in Oregon. (You can read that article here, sans Brandie). Now, obviously Brandie got a few things wrong factually. First, GMO foods are not “drenched” in chemicals — the stuff is expensive and we actually use it sparingly. And any residue left on the produce is well below safe limits for consuming it (try washing!). Also, voters have not spoken, except maybe those in Oregon, but they only voted against the cultivation of GMO crops, not eating GMO crops.
But that isn’t what struck me about Brandie comment. Rather, I was quite taken aback by this:
“Suck it up and do your job.”
Brandie, have you ever heard of the phrase: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds?”
Brandie’s comments are the epitome of a larger problem we have in society — a lack of respect and appreciation for the hard work that people across our society are doing. Unless we can see the effort someone has put into something, we don’t generally appreciate it. The baker may show up to the wedding with a beautiful cake, but that doesn’t mean we understand the work that goes into it.
And that goes for a whole host of industries and jobs across the spectrum of our society, not just farmers.
Farming isn’t an easy job. Farming is a physically demanding job, even if you’re just jumping in and out of the tractor cab all day. That takes its toll. Financially, our livelihood depends on the weather. Too much rain, too little rain, too high temps, too low temps, too much sun, not enough sun… To the extent that we can control the inputs, it is expensive and time consuming. Many of us run with large operating loans to buy the things we need. And let’s not even talk about the price of a new tractor.
Farmers choosing biotechnology is them, in fact, doing their job. That’s the ironic thing — we make a lot of choices when it comes to how we’re going to operate our farms. If you’ll recall from my first Farming Friday! post, there were a whole host of various factors to consider just when choosing the seed a farmer will use in the spring. Those decisions are made on a daily basis, but they are informed decisions that we make after doing our research, after learning in the field, and with years and years of experience.
So before Brandie tells us to just “suck it up” and “do our job,” it would be really nice if she would consider the toil and trouble that goes into producing that food that she feels so entitled to. Yes, it is a business and we do it for a profit, but people cannot survive without food. Instead of having voters take away our opportunities, instead of radicals destroying our crops, instead of news anchors blaming us for the world’s ills, and activists spewing all sorts of accusations at us, it would be nice if they could appreciate for just a moment that feeding the world is a serious and enormous task.
We do take it seriously and, just once, it’d be nice for someone to stop and think of it.
And Brandie – how about sticking around and trying to learn a little bit about what we do. You may just figure out that farmers aren’t the bad guys.
Great article, doing our job includes not only feed the people in the US who many have the financial resources to purchase organic or GMO free products but, to me, the more important job is to feed the world. Our population is exploding and without new technology there will be a lot of staving people. We can't have it both ways.
Taylor @ College Gir says
Very well said! Thanks for "doing your job" and explaining why her comment was both rude and misguided. 😉
Karen Briggs says
I am the 4th generation on my family's conventional dairy farm in Vermont and I'm proud of what we do. Thank-you for your insightful and informative blog, and for being a voice for our community! It's time that we farmers stand up and make our voices heard above the noise of confusion and misinformation. We are doing our job!
Sarah [NurseLovesFar says
We're raising 5th generation farmers and we simply cannot go back to the way the 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd generation grew up farming—we cannot. If Brandie is unhappy with the way most farmers have adapted and embraced this new technology (I'm sure if Brandie needed surgery, she wouldn't want her surgeon using skills and equipment from the 1900's?), then Brandie can grow her own food or purchase from whoever she wants without disrespecting other farmers in the process.
Excellent response. I think Brandie needs to take her blinders off. She has tunnel vision and is not seeing the whole picture.
Here's an idea – she can choose with her own pocketbook. No one is making her buy GMOs. She can grow her own food. It's no one's JOB to provide her with anything.
You’re right Melissa, she sounds a tad entitled.
Angela Jones says
There are many things that are wrong with Brandi's comment. First and foremost is the issue about food being 'drenched in chemicals'. THIS is what concerns me most, that uninformed people are feeling so passionate about something they really know nothing about. If Brandi took the time to research the types of chemicals used on GMO crops compared to what was used before regarding the toxicity and amounts then she would not make comments like that. Instead people like her are showing up at the polls and voting to take away things from agriculture that are safe and necessary tools for farmers to feed the growing population. Farmers do suck it up and do our jobs; in the rain, in the heat, in the snow, in freezing temps to help a cow calve, in the middle of 2 weeks of 16 hour days, at 4 AM before a storm moves in (as was the case last night on our farm). This first world problem of wanting to control every single step of food production (based on a set of ideas that are political from start to finish) is going to cause huge problems in the future. Sometimes I think that our culture is so wrapped up in our comfort and our sense of 'self' that most people can't see beyond their own nose. We live in a spoiled entitled time ‘just give me what I want and forget everyone else, and if you don’t I’m going to stomp and yell and protest until I get my way’. Maybe a large percent of our population actually has to go hungry before people like this take the time to learn the science behind modern high yield agriculture and why it is safe, sustainable and absolutely necessary. Thanks for writing this!
WELL said! Thank you so much for saying this like you did.
WELL said! Thank you so much for saying this like you did. As the wife of a farmer and someone who works in agriculture, I appreciate so much you taking the time to address this and educate people about it.
Cassandra Dejaynes says
First, Brandie needs to realize that the majority of the crops grown aren't even used for human consumption. They're used for animal feed and biofuels. And, in those animals fed GMO crops, in a responsible and sustainable method, are perfectly healthy animals. So, if the animals fed GMOs are healthy if raised in a healthy manner, why are GMOs bad for humans? Chemicals are another subject by which….well, I'll just put it this way. She probably has her morning coffee. Coffee is the most highly ingested pesticide in the world. Coffee NATURALLY contains pesticides and harmful chemicals, yet these anti-GMO, pro-organic ignorant (and yes, I just mean uneducated on the topic) people don't have a clue what they're really putting in their bodies. There are more harmful chemicals used on organically grown crops than traditional row crops in a lot of instances. It makes me wonder if Brandi has seen the list of approved chemicals to use on organic produce. I'm a 6th generation family farmer and responsible multi-generation farmers have learned practices of raising crops from generations of experience. We learn traditions of growing from decades of practice, science and education. It's an education that you can't get anywhere but on the farm. Nothing teaches you to shut a fence like having to get 200 cows back where they came from, learning to feed animals selflessly day in and day out in a multitude of weather conditions and drag in baby calves almost frozen to death, stay up with them all night and pour warm milk replacer down their throats just for them to survive, waiting for the baby chicks to hatch that you've been checking on every day for a week, only to have a cold frosty night kill half of them. The challenges farmers face every day would leave the average consumer baffled. I wonder when the last time Brandie prayed for rain for 2 weeks straight in a drought was? Probably never. It makes you dance in the rain when you finally get it though. Brandie, if you read this, grow your own damn food! I love my round-up ready sweet corn, hormone implanted beef and lettuce without bug holes in it. I'm sorry you don't think we're doing our jobs. But, let me just explain something. It's not a job on the farm. It's a lifestyle that takes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We don't get vacations. We don't get time off. We don't get sick days. And we do it for the love of our land, tradition and lifestyle. And, if you don't like the way the farmers are doing it, grow your own if you have a better way of doing it. But, please, let us know when you get your first load of livestock in. We'd love to come watch you build fence on a Sunday afternoon…after us lazy farmers have put in our 8 hours.
Cassandra Dejaynes says
Oh, Brandie, I hope you're reading this while drinking your morning coffee. Did you know that coffee is the single most ingested pesticide on the planet? Coffee is naturally a pesticide. I'm a 6th generation family farmer. We have corn, soybeans and cattle. Did you also know that traditional row crops are mostly grown for animal feed and biofuels? And, most importantly, have you ever grown your own food? Now, let me just educate you a bit. Animals fed GMO crops, when raised sustainably, are perfectly healthy. So, GMOs are bad for you, right? Organic is the way to go? Well, I'll take my round-up ready sweet corn, lettuce with no bug holes and GMO dry roasted edamame straight from the field where I grow it. See, us lazy farmers out here in Illinois don't get days off. We don't get sick days or vacation time. We get to take care of our livestock every day (don't you like to eat every day?). It's a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 days a year kind of job. Did I just say job? I meant lifestyle. If you don't like the way we do it out on the farm, grow your own damn food!
sheri maier says
Angela has said it perfectly! We farmers do risk our own lives at times to feed the world. We are out at all hours of the day or night. Put in WAY more than the typical 40 hours a lot of people get to. We sit up during thunderstorms watching and hoping we will have a crop the next day. We stay up all night next to a cold or sick calf doing everything possible to save it. Not because its money sitting there, because we care about the critter. We spend an enormous amount of time doing research trying to figure out how to feed a growing population. We do more than suck it up. We dont get sick days. We dont get paid leave. Most years we don't even get a vacation. We are passionate about our job. We feed the world. My family has been farming since they came across the ocean over 150 years ago. My grandpa had a slogan that simply said….don't criticize the farmer with your mouth full. If we go back to farming the way we did it even 50 years ago. There simply won't be enough food. Period.
its the arrogance of the anti intellectuals that disturbs me the most. not only wilfully ignorant but also more then happy to spread misinformation in such a self righteous manner.
Suzie Wilde says
I feel like a broken record because I say this so many times, but here it is again: Since we started planting GMO cottonseed, we use no insecticides on our farm. None. For 7 years now, no insecticides. Before, we would have had to spray up to 7 or 8 times just for insects. No drenching here.
Suzie Wilde says
I feel like a broken record because I say this so many times, but here goes: since we started planting GMO cottonseed, we do not use one drop of insecticide on our cotton. None. For 7 years, our farm has been insecticide free and the beneficials are flourishing. This is verses 7 or 8 times of insecticide before GMO seed. No drenching on this farm!
I wonder if Brandie ever uses any pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics? Most medications used today started out as plants. In many cases, we have since figured out which substance in the particular plant produced the desired effect and how to create that substance artificially. Most insulin used to be derived from beef or pork pancreas. Now it is engineered with recombinant DNA. If that isn't GMO, I'm not sure what is. But she would be using it if she was diabetic.
I whole heartly agree with all your comments and thank you for this great article in response. Brandie's comments angered me so much that I wish she would come visit me so I can put her to work on our farm. My husband and I are fourth generation farmers and I am personally an independant crop consultant. I would love for her to take a week and come visit so she can see the effort that goes into food production. Brandie is speaking without putting forth the effort to educate herself with something besides propaganda.
This is an excellent post and the responses are brilliant! I can never resist reading comments at the bottom of the posts and usually they are filled with hate-filled diatribes on both sides of the issue. All of the comments seen here are well written, well thought-out, respectful responses. Sadly, this may indicate the opposition has not read the post. It is refreshing to see this side of the argument instead what the uninformed public is usually spoon-fed by the media.
Thank you!! I'm glad you liked the article! I do moderate comments, so that tends to lessen the amount of contrary comments I get and then I don't always publish that nasty ones. This is my soap box, not theirs. 🙂
Love this and your blog which I just found not too long ago! Such a breath of fresh air to hear from people who actually know what they are talking about! I think I am pretty much alone in my circle of friends who is not AntiGMO I find it hard to be anti something without knowing much about it. Keep being awesome!
"Chemicals"….to quote a classic movie, Brandie, "you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means". Everything is made of chemicals. We are all walking, bloviating bags of chemicals. It's become a buzz word for use by nearly every pseudo science cause out there. And Brandie, instead of complaining and demanding someone "do their job", why don't you get off your lazy, spoiled and pampered arse and grow your own damned food. I am willing to bet you wouldn't make it through a single day at Amanda's job.
Bob Dudley says
I am not a farmer though my Dad started out as one. After WWII he got a desk job; however every summer he planted a big garden and my brother and I worked in it. Sixty years later I have a moderate garden. I don’t raise GMO crops because it is difficult for the home gardener to obtain them. Most places will laugh at you when you say you want a # of corn seed. The reason that I have a garden is that food is getting expensive and for the most part fresh veggies are organically grown and we pay a premium on the price so I grow my own. Like the professional farmer I keep my inputs (herbicides) down; however one has to use pesticides and fertilizer. I am retired and I don’t want to spend most of my free time in the garden. Likewise farmers have a tough job. Everyone around me is making hay; we have 12 hrs of sunlight and the framers are using every minute of that time mowing, tedding and bailing hay while caring tor their animals, maintaining their other crops and keeping their equipment in good repair. I would suggest that Brandie should spent a week working on the farm to what what real farmers Betcha she couldn’t last a week.
Thanks for the brilliant reply
Tyson Adams says
Nothing like being told by the uninformed the best way to do your job.
Not like we know what we’re doing.
Sure, tell us how best to do our job whilst we “suck it up.”
This is the same nonsense we get in the O&G industry. “drenched in chemicals” Good grief. I know that I get healthier, cheaper, better food thanks to GMO and I’m all for it. I also know firsthand the work that goes into taking care of crops and livestock. So many entitled people want to sit in front of their screens and express their opinions on things about which they know nothing. The unfortunately byproduct of the hard work of farmers and O&G people is that people like Brandie thrive.
“And let’s not even talk about the price of a new tractor” Actually, I think we should. People have some convaluted idea that farmers are getting rich off their line of work. Whe I was the farmer’s daughter, non-farm kids thought we had money because the folks drove Oldsmobiles and the biggest station wagons made. Those cars were always used, and they weighed a ton! We lived in SW Kansas and you had to drive something that the wind couldn’t pick up! Vut all the rest of the money was paying on loans for equipment anr repairs. hose fancy combines and tractors were all repaired by my Dad and the men and boys that worked for him. John Deere’s best was covered in hydralic fluids and dirt, just repaired and chugging along and turning up ground, and we were cooking up another pot of beans. Again. And again. Christmas was a 25 cent doll and a handful of hard candy in a stocking.because the spring crop got flattened in one hour by hail and the winter wheat didn’t make it through the ice storm. Brandie, YOU suck it up and do your job; if you have one. It surely isn’t an educated position.
Neil Barr says
I worked on a couple of surveys on public attitudes to agriculture. What became clear was that there was a segment of the population (about 10%) who displayed deep ignorance of agriculture, yet believed they were highly informed. The Dunning-Kruger effect comes to mind- the truly ignorant are even ignorant of their own ignorance. This situation is a product of the internet echo chamber. It promotes and rewards motivated reasoning. This is reasoning that filters evidence and punishes deviance from the shared view of the world. I would call Brandie a case study.
I have been seeing that “drenched in chemicals” screed a lot lately. Though I could be doing something else it is our duty to push back against such untruths.
While organic produce is only %4 of the US market. There has been a so called grass roots marketing campaign. That uses lies and misinformation to push all growers towards this more expensive production method.
as a grower I have friends that grow organically. One asked me to run their operation. the only reason I declined is our own family farm is a full time job.
what we must realize is that NEGETIVE ADVERTISING HURTS. Studies have shown that while more than %75 of people polled liked farmers. Only %25 thought farmers were doing a good job. And these were people that had regular food security.
Another study showed that for every negative information post. Even if they are totally false, such as “drenched in chemicals”. It takes seven positive credible affirmations to contradict. Therefore one liar or useful idiot posting such misinformation can influence many people to vote for something that will hurt agriculture and eventually hurt them.
They do not even realize that when the US can no longer economically grow our own food it will be imported from countries with less environmental and safety regulations. And still cost more.
I love this comment! I have had so many people (including organic farmers) tell me to just IGNORE the negative advertising and marketing – it doesn’t matter and it’s just trying to sell a product. Absolutely not! It is damaging and it hurts farmers and consumers!
I can’t help but wonder if folks like Brandie give even a second thought as to why farming has to be done the way that it is now? Does she have ANY idea how much food is wasted daily in Canada and the United States? The fruits and veggies that aren’t “pretty enough” to sell, the produce that people buy with the best of intentions and then throw out a couple of weeks later, the leftovers we refuse to eat, the food that doesn’t get sold in the store… WE created the situation, the farmers are only doing what they can to answer the demand. Could you imagine if all farms flat out refused to use GMOs and there was a food shortage in this entitled world of ours?
Hats off to all of the farmers who bust their butts to feed us spoiled brats. While I’m sadly not a farmer (yet), I come from a long line of farmers and you all have the utmost respect from me.