« Karl's Comments

They're Busy

by Jeremy Lawrence

It just cant be so, as so many critics seem to believe, that Nothings being done in Washington . . . . . From that point, one could go off on any number of tangents, flavored by personal preferences and vested interests. Just for a few moments, lets leave Congress out of the discussion, and look around and listen to something of whats going on, for our benefit, outside the Capitol dome. Take the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance - - thats a lobbying group supporting, obviously farmers and ranchers. As such, USFRA provided some financial support for the making of the documentary, FARMLAND, but now appears to be a bit uncomfortable with what it says is the clear lines in the American landscape between those who grow food and those who consume food! Well, I, for one, am not surprised that an Academy Award-winning director like James Moll, would go down that winding road.

When it comes right down to it, USFRA CEO Randy Krotz says the film does just what his organization hoped it would do. It is the answer, he says, to every farmer who wants to help people understand where food comes from, but doesnt know how or where to begin that conversation. A lot of people, he goes on, are talking ABOUT farmers and ranchers, but few are talking TO them. He hopes the film, FARMLAND will go a long way toward bridging the gap between those who live for agriculture, and those who live because of agriculture.

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance is just one organization among many, but its one we just dont hear much about. I thought it was time.

I did not intend to speak in support of those who complain about a do-nothing Congress, and I hasten to make note that 170 members of the House have written a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, urging defense of common food names, while negotiating with the European Union. I dont have a lot of data on this one, but apparently the European Union is trying to claim some sort of proprietary interest in dairy products for export. A spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation says Europe needs to be reminded it doesnt own parmesan and feta. He points out that, in fact, many nations outside of Europe have made award-winning cheeses, and that some U.S cheeses have beaten out those in Europe, in international competitions.

State legislatures are getting in the game on the farmer side of things, too. Connecticut legislators earlier this month defeated legislation intended to ban the use of gestation stalls. Most U.S swine producers use gestation stalls for pregnant sows. The method is approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

Animals Rights Groups are Wrong - - Again.

Karl Guenther is a retired farm broadcaster at WKZO and can be reached at khguenther@charter.net . He is a member of Michigan Farm Bureau and an emeritus member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. (accompanying picture is a screen capture from You Tube)