Sing the Praises of Agriculture

Posted: 9/16/2009

Posted By: Todd Mortenson, South Dakota Cattleman Association President

In agriculture we are always dealing with variables over which we have little or no control. We battle drought, floods, disease, plagues, low markets, high inputs, etc. These are challenges that we accept and can overcome. The one thing that can put us out of business faster than all of the above is if we lose the battle of perception. If what we do is perceived to damage the environment, be bad for your health, or sour the soul, then we will be legislated out of business. Say it can't happen? Look at what they did in California. The HSUS, in their infinite wisdom, was able to convince enough people that it was more humane for a sow to lie down on her piglets and suffocate them than to have her in a farrowing crate. Or that chickens should be turned loose so that they can pile up in the corner of a barn and suffocate each other.

 There is currently a bill before Congress that would ban the use of antibiotics in animal feed. The theory is that since there is growing drug resistance in humans, and humans eat meat, and some meat has tiny traces of antibiotics in it, therefore if we ban the use in animals we will slow down drug resistant bugs. The problem is that the science doesn't support the theory. Just because you see a fat person drinking diet pop doesn't mean diet pop makes you fat!

This particular legislation would also make it extremely difficult to get new drugs on the market, thus driving up the cost substantially. If that isn't bad enough, you and I won't be allowed to treat our own cattle, as there is a provision that only licensed vets could administer antibiotics. They have tried something similar to this in Europe and have found that drug residues actually increased because more animals were getting sick and required more treatments.

Don't get me started on "Climate Change." Talk about cow pie science. So what can we do? Educate and get involved. Your officer team and staff recently met with Senator Thune and representatives of Sen. Johnson and Rep. Herseth-Sandlin at DakotaFest and voiced our positions on these and other issues before Congress. We will be meeting with them again on September 16th in Washington D.C. at the NCBA Legislative Conference.

 Talk with your local legislators and keep them informed of the issues that affect agriculture.  In short, sing the praises of agriculture every chance you get to as many people as you can.  Sit on committees, boards, and be active and visible in the community. And last, but certainly not least, support the organization that is fighting every day for your livelihood, the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association.

We have a wonderful, dedicated, well-respected staff and officer team.  Support them by recruiting new members and donating to the VolunSteer program.  None of the money will be spent on lawyers and frivolous lawsuits!

Before I sign off, there is one piece of good legislation being considered in Congress that would actually benefit ranchers and farmers.  It is a bill that would exempt working farm and ranch land from the inheritance tax, as long as the land is kept by the family in production agriculture..  Contact Representative Herseth Sandlin and tell her what a good idea this is and why she should support it.


blog comments powered by Disqus