Monday, February 4, 2013

On the Eighth Day

My Facebook page blew up sometime around the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl.  That was about the time Dodge ran the now famous "So God Made A Farmer" commercial narrated by the late Paul Harvey.

The comments were fantastic and hilarious.  I loved every one of them.  Apparently I am the only farmer many of my friends know, which does make sense since farmers make up less than 2% of our nations population.  I live in a small town, most folks know or know of one another.  My circle of friends, contacts, and networks includes a lot of farmers.  That makes sense to me.

But, I'm reminded that I'm in a minority.  Most people don't know a farmer.  Most people don't know how food is produced.  Most people don't know where their food comes from.  I'm reminded of the awesome task and responsibility given to us who produce the food.  I'm amazed at how much so few of us are able to produce.  It's simply mind boggling.  And, I'm reminded of the task that lies ahead of us as the population continues to grow.  It's going to be all hands on deck.  Looking forward to the challenge.

Paul Harvey first gave the original version of that speech back in 1978 at the National FFA convention. I was barely one year old at the time.  Dodge did slightly edit the original version, but did so without sacrificing the overall content.  For the cost of Super Bowl commercials, I can hardly blame them.

I remember where I was the first time I heard Harvey recite those words.  Sitting in my dads truck out in a cotton field eating lunch, the local radio station would play the Paul Harvey update each day at noon. I was around 16 at the time.  Quite fitting I think.

Now as usual some folks just can't resist lampooning a commercial like this one.  Probably in the same way I find it hard to resist taking shots at Wendell Berry.  Popping up in comments sections and on message boards are comments ranging from the clueless, to confusion, to delusion, to cheap shots at...wait for it...Monsanto.  How original, attacking that evil empire.  As an aside here, let me say if you want to criticize "big farming" at least have the courtesy to use and understand the basic nomenclature of agriculture.  As a starting point, may I suggest the following tips:

1) Know the difference between a family farm and a global corporation and the stats on those.  By some peoples standards, our farm is a global corporation seizing on the weak and destroying the environment.  Sigh.  I think not.

2) Understand the difference between terms like hybrid and genetically modified organism (GMO). Hybrids are nothing new.  I'm a hybrid.  You're a hybrid.  In layman's terms, anything that has two parents or anything this is crossed with something else is a hybrid.  How do you think we got so many apple varieties?  GMO's means the plant (seed) has been genetically infused to resist something or control something.  Roundup Ready/Bt corn for example, can be sprayed with a product containing glyphosate --known as Roundup to most people-- and kill the weeds w/out hurting the corn.  Bt protects the plant against insects.  These are good things.

3) Understand the costs associated with farming.  Some things are expensive, some aren't.  Know the difference.

Farmers may very well have a love hate relationship with Monsanto.  But I've never understood why they seem to be targeted more so than the other Ag affiliated companies.  Maybe b/c they're the biggest?  The wealthiest? Maybe others are envious of them?  Other companies are using this technology or have invested in their own version of it.

Where is the outrage towards Dupont, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Phytogen and so on?

How about a little consistency here?

Farmers know the rules to the game, and we (should) fully understand our rights and limitations when we use their products.  It's their product.  They hold the rights to it.  It's their intellectual property.  To knowingly use Monsanto's or anyone else's patented products then complain about the rules later is asinine. No one is forcing our hand here.  Not really anyway. We have other options in the seed and chemical market.  We use these products b/c we've seen the results.  Besides, if the weed resistance problems continue with Roundup (Glyphosate), Monsanto will be less and less influential.  Farmers will spend money, but not bad money towards solutions that doesn't work.

I read on RealClearPolitics website that this was the first of a series of commercials spotlighting farmers and agriculture that Dodge/Chrysler will be unveiling throughout 2013.

Kudos to Dodge for that.  In case you missed the commercial, here it is again:

And, for the full text of Paul Harvey's words, watch and listen here: