Clearly I am either unreliable, irresponsible or …gasp…. lazy. I am a self-confessed erratic blogger. I started my blog ‘Know Farms….know food’ this winter because I wanted to share information about farming with anyone intrigued but distant from food production. I have a deep conviction that if we don’t allow people to know about modern farming that we will whittle away at our social license to that point that there is no farming.
My vision was to invite you into our farm to share what we do and why we do it. I don’t want there to be anything on my farm that I cannot talk about. I believe that one of the reasons we face so much negative media attention is because the real-dirt on farming hasn’t been shared. Too often, pictures of farms and farming are sterile, posed, and too cute to be true. But the cynical consumer today sees through that. You know there is more to the story and it makes you wonder what we are hiding.
So this winter I sat down several times and wrote. I wrote about steroid use, euthanasia, and how to calve out a cow. In every one of those blogs I laid it out. Then I thought…. I can’t post that.
I follow lots of ‘agvocates’ on twitter and the shift to an ever more negative tone alarms me. Most of what I see are confrontational comments – – in both directions. I have no desire to argue with strangers. Nor to open myself to public criticism from people who fundamentally believe that my industry shouldn’t exist. So it just seemed easier to stay quiet.
Then this morning I was checking the cows and found this. Momma had snuck into the nursery area and when she saw me come around the corner the guilty look on her face was hilarious. (I know I’m not supposed to anthropomorphize but…..) She immediately did an athletic move – athletic for a cow at least – and ducked back out. I was about to post the pics to twitter when I saw the manure in the shot. And I stopped.
I am ashamed that something as mundane as manure and mud stopped me. I am not being true to my values. Worse, I am perpetuating the myths. So here it is. My cow – walking through sh*t. I am proud of my animals, our operation, and how we care for thing. We work hard to provide everything these animals need and they reward that with health and productivity.
I can’t sit back and stay quiet. Failing to be part of the solution just contributes to the problem. I still worry that I will make a major blunder and open our farm to unnecessary attention. But the risk is worth it. So for the next few weeks I will try this again. I will share some of the boring, mundane aspects of farming, some of our gaffs, and talk about the challenges we face as an Industry. Thanks in advance for your forgiveness for my silence and your respectful conversation.