I Know Where My Food Comes From

This is in response to the editorial in the Iowa State Daily entitled “Do We Really Know Where Our Food Comes From?

When I walk into a grocery store, I am overwhelmed with the amount of options I am given, from the juice I drink to the meat I eat.  There is one thing I know for sure, the options of meat that are given to the American consumer are safe and nutritious.  How do I know?  Because I am part of American Agriculture.

Today, Madison Ward asked students really know where their food comes from (Iowa State Daily, 4/17/15).  As a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, I wish Madison would have approached myself or my classmates this question and discussed her concerns. Maybe even a farm visit would clear up many misconceptions about life on the farm. Instead, I welcome Madison to listen to our opinion and continue an open discussion about where your food comes from. 

This response is a collaboration from the mad minds of Ashley Smeby and Lexi Marek, about what we have learned from our experiences growing up on a farm in Iowa. 

I’ve seen Food Inc., a documentary that looks into large agri-businesses in America, which is produced by Hollywood.  Hollywood is looking to make a bang for their buck and most likely has not experienced everyday life on the farm.  I would not ask my hairdresser to diagnose a health issue for me, so I sure wouldn’t ask Hollywood how my food is grown.

Instead I would ask a farmer. 

Madison suggested supporting PETA.  We do not support them, and this photo is just one reason why.

The photo on the right was sponsored on social media by PETA, and the photo on the left is a freshly sheared lamb.  Shearing a lamb is like shaving your legs, no blood involved!  As usual PETA has twisted a safe, ordinary farming practice and made it appear to be cruelty to animals.That is the reason I do not trust PETA or any organizations that are supposed to be supporting animals but instead spend millions of dollars promoting the mistreatment of animals instead of helping them. 

We are a part of the strongest agricultural university in the nation, and it is our responsibility to get the facts from respected, science-based sources.

Now, lets talk about the “almighty dollar” that Madison mentions. Farming is unlike any other career path.  This industry is not just a business, but a lifestyle. Growing up on the farm I was taught the importance of taking care of the land and our animals.

When most look at farming, it can be easy to look over the initial costs that come with the lifestyle. Over the years, more and more people have left the farming business because of the input costs, and the amount of time that goes into farming.

Many important aspects of farming often become overlooked by those who have been raised away from the farm. Things such as land, machinery, fuel, labor and even time often become forgotten. 

Farmers depend on their animals for a living they are too invested in this lifestyle to mistreat their animals. Most farmers spend day and night, working more than just 40 hours a week, to care for their animals. 

Within large companies, growers are held reliable by the company and also by government restrictions, to make sure everything is done correctly, from caring for the animals, to caring for the land. They are part of the communities they live in, and contribute to its economic stability. They have the responsibility of providing high quality, safe food for consumers around the world. In order to grow enough food for the growing world population, agriculture has had to evolve from it’s past. Farmers are continuing to improve their practices to better care for their livestock, families, community, and the world. 

We suggest for anyone who has questions about agriculture to ask a farmer, or check out the following blogs written by Lexi Marek and Ashley Smeby, who both grew up on farms in Iowa.

Check out Ashley's blog at http://ashleysmeby.blogspot.com/