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.