Buzzard's Beat

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why is Big Ag Bad?

As the great-grandchild of European immigrants, I am extremely proud of my ancestors’ ambitions to start a new life in America, the land of opportunity. My grandpa and grandma started their small family restaurant in Kansas City in the 1960s and with hard work eventually expanded to a larger venue. Before long they had two restaurants, the original in Kansas City and a new shop in Lake Ozark, Mo., and Ken Baker’s Restaurant became a hotspot for families and some of Kansas City’s best fried chicken.

It seems as if bigger is better, right? My grandparents, along with many other business owners, are heralded for managing their stores successfully, growing and changing with the times, and expanding their enterprise. However, it appears that farm and ranch families are not held to the same standards as many other industries and embracing technology, sustaining a livelihood and improving efficiency are only selectively celebrated. "Big Ag", the term anti-efficiency activists like to use, is bad.

For example, does society condemn Coca-Cola for being big? Or is Whole Foods publicly denigrated for commandeering the organic market? Michelin, Goodyear and Firestone, for their huge tire empires, are never reprimanded for their firm grasp on the tire industry. Why is it ok to be profitable, self-sufficient and efficient in nearly every other industry in the world but not food?

Bo Stone, one of the U.S.F.R.A. Faces of Farming of Ranching, recently shared his thoughts on this paradox on CNN’s Eatocracy blog and on World Food Day, October 24, the Food Dialogues panel focused on answering that very question. Panelists included the executive director of the Center for Science in Public Interest, a Bloomberg news reporter, food pundits and farmers.

In agriculture, the viewpoints are varied and information is commonly misconstrued but the efforts of MBA grads are often not unnoticed. I encourage all of those involved in agriculture to read Bo’s piece, watch the Food Dialogues video and critically evaluate how you can convey that "Big Ag" isn’t bad.
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~
Disclaimer: I wrote this for the Masters of Beef Advocacy newsletter that went out earlier this week but I liked it so much I had to share it here too. It's applicable to more than just MBA grads!

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