Tune In To Reality

Tune In To Reality
My family is addicted to a few of those reality TV shows. While we tend to steer clear of the shows with celebrities trapped in jungles or trying to dance the tango, we’ve become big fans of shows like Dirty Jobs, How It’s Made and Myth Busters.

Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe takes us to the depths of a city sewer or to the backside of a dairy cow about to be artificially inseminated.

How It’s Made shows us how they make all kinds of everyday things like springs, radios and bologna. The Myth Busters team tackles all types of urban myths and far-fetched ideas, testing them to see if they are busted, proven or plausible.

The shows are simple in nature and genius in design. They tell us a story. They give us the ‘what, why and how’ about many products that we use everyday. They show us reality. We just need to be paying attention and learn.

Maybe it’s time for some myth busting in agriculture.

It’s easy for people to take advantage of someone’s lack of knowledge, filling minds with fear instead of facts, and that seems to be happening a lot in agriculture these days.

Everyday, farmers use scientifically-proven methods to make a living, care for the environment, raise healthy crops and livestock and feed a growing world. Most would love to tell you about it. The challenge is getting us, consumers, to perk up our ears and listen.

What troubles me is the many self-proclaimed experts out there who are “educating” the public about modern food production. Many of these folks have an agenda.

I think everyone should choose what and how they eat. But I simply can’t agree with false accusations meant to misdirect and misinform people to forward a certain agenda.

For example, I recently watched author Jonathan Safran Foer talk about his new book on a popular daytime talk show a few weeks ago.

The author of acclaimed fiction books, and a vegetarian, had decided to write about farming and food. In the process of the television interview, he made incredibly wild accusations such as how the H1N1 virus developed in hog confinements and how farming was to blame for every environmental problem, from water quality to air pollution. The scope of blame was wide, while his knowledge base and perspective seemed incredibly narrow.

When the host asked how he knew this and why the rest of us didn’t, he accused farmers of keeping their methods secret and how lucky it was that he had taken the time to do the research.

Well, I’m busting this myth and no television show is needed. The information is out there and it always has been. Why not ask the expert instead of the spin factory?

Farmers will tell you their stories. They will tell you how they raise those hogs, what they feed them, how they keep them healthy, where they are transported on the big trucks you see on the interstates, and more.

Farmers will tell you all about the dirty jobs they do to produce healthy food for us and they’ll tell you exactly how that holiday ham is made at the processor and you’ll find out that it’s no myth.

All it takes is your time and interest to learn the truth.

Then you can make up your mind about what to eat and feel confident with that decision. But don’t let other people make the myth for you. Tune in to reality.

Visit these sites to get the real facts about food production:

Written by Heather Lilienthal
Heather is an Ag Commodities Writer for the Iowa Farm Bureau.