Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Token Farmer

The fact that I straddle the worlds of corporate America and agriculture is a theme of this blog but it has really come home to me this week with the number of friends and family who have stopped us to get our opinion on Ohio Issue 2.

Some have been apologetic for "bothering" us about this, but really we're the only farmers they know. I have been happy to help via Facebook message or e-mail but at the request of a good friend and fellow blogger, I decided to post about how we are voting and why.

First, let me summarize by saying that we are voting YES. We have the sign in our front yard proclaiming our intentions. Second, if you disagree with me, then fine. I'm not writing this to change anyone's mind--only to reach people who are undecided and value our opinion as real farmers.

I'll start by pointing out that the vote-no-people, the Humane Society of the US, is a vegan organization who (by their own admission) have the end goal of eliminating consumption of meat and dairy. One tactic is to make farming so difficult and food so expensive that people look for alternatives. Also, they are NOT affiliated with any actual humane societies and spend only token money on helping dogs or cats.

Even though some materials say small farmers are opposed to Issue 2--that is simply not true. We are a very small farm but we are in favor of Issue 2. It's true, as the critics note, that this board was rushed into existence chiefly to keep the HSUS from imposing some draconian rules on Ohio agriculture (see motives above). But we truly believe that consulting large animal vets, the head of agriculture education at Ohio State and Ohio consumers (all on the proposed board) would be a better way to manage our livestock care issues.

Here's a real-life example of how the changes proposed by well-meaning animal lovers could affect pig farms... They want to eliminate gestation crates that don't permit the sow to turn around. Husband doesn't use these partly because we would have to build an entire new expensive barn to accommodate and we don't have the volume of sows to justify. BUT since he doesn't use them, he has to stay up all night, almost every night from December through February to make sure that the sows don't squish the babies as they are born and so they don't freeze to death (gestation barns are climate controlled). If Husband had hundreds of sows like a farm that provides meat to the grocery, this would be impossible to manage and every day piglets would be getting stepped on by their mothers--which is very painful and usually rips them open.

This is my long-winded way of saying that farmers came up with these methods not out of meanness but out of a desire to raise as many healthy animals as they can quickly and economically--something we enjoy every week at Krogers.

So tell your Facebook friends and your crazy neighbor who e-mails you about the evils of "factory farms" that you heard it straight from a farmer--vote YES on Issue 2.


  1. Excellent post, Holly. Thanks for taking the time to explain, with real examples, why farms use certain management practices. We appreciate the role you play in "straddling" worlds. I think many of us do that, too, and don't realize the impact we can have in our own little worlds.

  2. There's still no excuse! There is no convenience or profit margin large enough to cover the shame of animal cruelty!


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