We are those big, GMO farmers
Shortly after our oldest child was born, I started reading everything the search engine returned about how to feed children the "right way." It would be a few more years before I realized this is almost never a good idea.
From the first article on, an overwhelming weight was being pushed onto my shoulders — the weight of fear of our food. Everywhere I looked, I was being told our food was scary. It wasn't like it "used to be." It wasn't "natural." It wasn't "simple" or "clean."
His runny nose, my extra baby weight, his occasional rashes, my cough, our inability to sleep well, the mysterious missing other sock — they all clearly stemmed from consuming this new "Franken-food."
I was being sold this by food manufacturers, restaurants, bloggers and even other moms. I was being told I had to pay more and be more selective. I had to "know my farmer" and "buy local" or else ...
As a mother, I was ready to do all of that for my child's health. I also remember my first dose of reality, quizzing my farmer husband about GMOs while eating sweet corn from our own field. He didn't laugh or put me off, but he answered as best he could and smiled at some of the crazier things I had bought into. But he never laughed.
Over the next few months, and continuing today, I started learning about modern agriculture, from a new perspective as a mom.
Soon, I realized — we are those farmers. We are those farmers they want you to fear. We are the big farmers who use GMOs, chemical and produce food for grocery stores.
We use GMOs by choice to help us fight drought, erosion, pests and fungus. GMOs leave a smaller footprint and help us be more responsible stewards of our land. We proudly buy and consumes products grown with GMO ingredients because we understand what they are, how they help and the science that has proven them safe for over 20 years.
We are the farmers who use chemicals carefully and in the correct amounts to manage risk and our environment and to provide you a safe, reliable food source. We often rely on modern chemicals that have been developed to be more effective and less toxic than chemicals used decades ago.
But we are also the farmers who use GMOs and other technology to reduce our chemical use as much possible. Not because the chemicals we use aren't safe, but because they are expensive and require extra trips across the fields.
We are those big farmers. From the outside looking in, people often look at us as large farmers. Surveys have indicated the average American defines a "large farmer" as anyone farming more than 100 acres. We are 20 times that.
Other farm families would consider our farm size average or standard. We farm more acres and have more animals because we needed to grow to support another family returning to the farm. We farm more acres because we have equipment and technology that allows us to. We farm more acres and have more animals because we actually love farming.
We are those farmers that raise grocery store food. We aren't "local" to hardly anyone, with the exception of a handful of folks in Linn County, Mo. Our calves and lambs end up on your grocery store shelves, without any labels to distinguish it as "better" or "safer." Our corn and soy end up feeding animals across this country and in food products that end up on your store shelves, again, without any distinguishing labels.
We are those farmers, but it is not our story. We are not scary, and neither is the food we are raising.
Editor's note: This is used with permission. For the full post, find it at: http://www.uptownsheep.com/uptown-girl---a-working-farm-wifes-blog/wearethosefarmers.
Kate Lambert resides in Brookfield, Mo., with her husband and two young sons where they raise, sell and show championship Hampshire sheep along with Great Pyrenees dogs and farm, growing corn and soybeans. Lambert is a marathon runner, works for Farm Credit Services and maintains a blog at uptownsheep.com.