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Jun 24, 2014

Between Old Mcdonald's Farm and "Factory Farms"

Agriculture is a huge part of mine and my husband's lives. It controls our schedule, where we work, our finances, where we live, our interests, and the people we share some of our time with.

And it controls our thoughts and our emotions.

We're just small Hoosier conventional soybean and corn farmers but I couldn't imagine living our life without farming or being involved with agriculture. I think about where we would live, what our landscape would look like or what we'd do with the extra money we've invested into keeping the farm going.

I don't think about it very long because it's well, just something I. don't. like. to. think. about.

We have so much invested in agriculture.

If you're married to a farmer or you are a farmer or both, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Recently, it seems like many others off the farm have taken an interest in agriculture as well.

They're concerned with the seeds we plant, the chemicals we APPLY, the ground we use, the taxes we pay, the fuel we use, the income we make, the roads we use and where our crops go post harvest.

Some think it's a sin that we grow grain that could possibly go towards feeding the animals that we eventually consume. Some think it's a sin that we grow genetically engineered crops even though they have no reasoning to back up that thinking. Some think it's a sin that we are tearing up their roads and wasting their tax dollars. Some think we are sinning by poisoning their air with the pollution from our tractors.

They've never worked on a farm let alone even visited a farm.

But for some reason, they think they know exactly how we should farm.

It's hard not to take offense to some of the accusations being made towards agriculture. In fact, there have been times where I've dwelled on it all too much.When I talk about agriculture on my blog or in person, I am as transparent as can be. We have nothing to hide.

But yet, we are constantly accused of hiding something.

People are sending drones over farms. People are hiding in the corn fields and spying on farmers. They're sneaking into farms on school field trips and taking pictures, creating false captions of what is really happening in that photo. People are spreading lies all over the internet, in the newspapers, on billboards and on TV.

But yet, we are the ones accused of lying.

The only thing that I can come up with is that people need to blame something for the bad that goes on in this world.

So, let's blame the thing we are disconnected from. Let's blame the thing we know absolutely nothing about. Let's blame the thing that keeps use alive.

Go ahead. Let's do it.

Agriculture can handle it. We've got nothing to hide.

They, the ones who are off the farm, go in at 8 and clock out at 5. They come home to their families or onto other activities like a switch that goes off.

Farmers don't have a switch. We never turn off.

We're constantly growing, changing and inventing.

We talk about our crops at the dinner table. We take field trips to machinery factories to see the next big feature on a new implement. We get together with other farmers to discuss new ideas. We read agriculture headlines daily. We study the latest technologies in farming and we dream of using as many as we can someday. We work with agronomists and soil scientists to figure out the best way to take care of the soil we love. We volunteer in our rural communities and spend our paychecks there. We invite them to do all that too. But they won't.

We are learning by doing and doing by learning. We are addressing food and other agriculture needs, protecting our soil and environment, renewing our resources and improving the quality of life off and on the farm.

They are reading lying memes on the internet, watching shows with "doctors" who are paid by companies to bash on various industries, falling for the marketing scare tactics on the menus at a fast food Mexican restaurant as they munch on their calorie packed burritos and marching against amazing, global changing companies that have done more good than they'll ever know because they refuse to believe the positive.

Who are you going to believe? They or us?

Please take into consideration the families and the legacies involved in small agriculture when you stand against the idea of big agriculture. Big agriculture doesn't exist. Factory farms do not exist.

Old McDonald's farm doesn't exist, either.

Old McDonald's farm went under when they decided to get big money desk jobs and move to the city. Old McDonald's farm diminished when they wanted to spend their spare time watching ball games with their family instead of homesteading.

Somewhere between these "factory farms" and Old McDonald's farm lies a small portion of our country's population.

People like myself and my husband.

Living our dream so you can live yours.


  1. Very well said, Kelly! People don't want agriculture to advance, yet they want Apple to pump out new products and technologies as fast as they can. They want the best medicine and advances in surgical techniques....but they don't want farmers to use similar technologies to make more food in a sustainable way. There is SUCH hatred and such a disconnect from the consumer to the farmer. It's so sad. Keep doing what you're doing.

  2. Great points! The TV was on this morning because I like listening to Charlie and Nora on CBS's Morning News show, but then right after that, Dr. Oz pops on. He rant today was about pesticides and how we are using too much on our food, and there are links to ADHD, cancer, and so on to these pesticides.....Steve asked me to tape it, and I did, but I really wanted to reach through the screen and throttle that guy. He really is an alarmist. I'm sure he sees himself as some whistle blower, but he never talks about the health risks from eating organic food. He never talks about how much it would cost to grow and raise livestock without all the medicines and chemicals we do add to these food sources. He doesn't talk about all the research we, as farmers, do with our soils, crops, and feed to make them work the best way to the good of those we feed. BAH!

    If we did all grow crops the way they want us to, then they would bit.... about how much money they have to pay and how the farmers are getting rich off of the increases. They don't see our input costs, profit losses with poor crops, damage from weather......

    Go gettem girlfriend. Keep trying to teach; there are people out there listening. They are just the silent majority, and we need to get them to speak up for us!

  3. You totally hit the nail on the head...
    "Old McDonald's farm went under when they decided to get big money desk jobs and move to the city. Old McDonald's farm diminished when they wanted to spend their spare time watching ball games with their family instead of homesteading."
    The good old days of farming have been overly romanticized and those without direct knowledge are simply swept along with the rhetoric. I'd like to know how many of "them" would give up their technology-driven lifestyles for one single day of what they think farming should be like.
    Great post.

  4. Thank you so much for posting and standing up for farming! Everyday I hear about people being afraid of GMOs...and more...and then there are reports on the news and talk shows about things that people just jump on w/o any testing or idea of what they are putting in or onto their bodies. LOL Beer was attacked on Facebook a few days ago...wonder how many stopped drinking? I see where the energy drinks are killing kids...but, I see kids buying them anyway...sun screen, I just saw where you should be VERY careful of the sprays...don't inhale them --don't use them on the little ones especially...and yet, I see cans of the spray sunscreen selling and being used like crazy! haha!! anyway sorry....I am pretty stoked these days and knowing people like you are here to post like you do...settles me down and keeps me focused. again, Thank You!

  5. I really enjoyed this post. It's so raw + honest, and I think it shows how passionate you + your husband are about farming + agriculture. I think a lot of times, farmers get blamed for society. It's not like conventional or organic farmers are standing around, just twiddling their thumbs + doing mass production. Farmers grow / sell / provide what society is demanding, and our society demands excess, which puts a huge strain on farmers and agriculture.
    I honestly think whether someone is a conventional farmer, an organic farmer, or someone in between, everyone is just trying to do what they feel is right. I plan on being an organic farmer, but I also have learned so much information, tips, and tricks from conventional farmers (online + offline). You saw how excited I was + how many questions I asked when you first started to explain about the new dye process for soybeans in Indy! But unfortunately, I don’t think I’m the “norm”. I think more often conventional farmers stick with conventional, and organic with organic. This, sadly, is a common issue ("us" versus "them") in any industry.

    For example, I work in higher education right now. I work in non-profit, but there is for-profit higher education as well. There's a lot of finger pointing and blaming between the two "sides" and both sides feel as though the other is corrupting education + the future of the children. I think this rings true for farming as an industry. Some conventional farmers feel diminished + misunderstood by organic farmers/society, just as much as organic farmers can feel diminished + misunderstood by conventional farmers/society. It's hard, but I think dichotomous relationships are so common in industries.

    Quick question... this part of the post I didn't really understand: "Please take into consideration the families and the legacies involved in small agriculture when you stand against the idea of big agriculture. Big agriculture doesn't exist. Factory farms do not exist." -- I think I was reading it too literally, and was confused by 'factory farms do not exist'... did you mean this more figuratively because there are traditions + legacies that play into the factory farms' histories?

  6. I'm soooo happy you shared this and so honestly. Daily I'm reading, watching, and hearing peoples ignorance towards agriculture and I just can't wrap my head around it. Educating these people are so important. Most of the time they are giving into the hype and really have no idea. The other day my best friend and her new health conscious boyfriend were over. My husband who is a Certified Crop Advisor, asked him what he thought of GMOs and trying to pass the law for labeling all GMO foods. Her boyfriend replied that it was a good thing, but couldn't explain why. My husband took this time to educate him on GMOs and shockingly he was open minded and was surprised by what he learned....instead of giving into the hype.

  7. Beautiful as usual! Totally relate over here - on the animal production side of course. This is part of the reason I don't blog so much anymore - it's just too hard to defend sometimes! I think the whole world seems to be taking a hit now-a-days, in addition to no one at all being able to mind their own business! I'm not sure what the answer is, but hopefully sharing and blog is part of the answer!

  8. Amazing post! So much heart and truth!

  9. I was on my way to bed but thought I better read this one last blog post before I signed off, so glad I did! You said it in just the right way, so many people romanticize about what they think farming should be and where their food should come from. The small farm house, a few chickens, a few cows, farmer out plowing the field, wife inside baking pies and kids laughing in the yard. Yet they completely ignore the reality of the amount of food we need to produce to feed the world. Small farmers often can't make ends meet and so they have to grow bigger. I was questioned years ago by a teacher in a larger city about why I worked off the farm even though we had such a large amount of acres. My answer was something to the effect of, we could get by on the farms wage but I'm not sure what would happen during the bad years when it came to paying sports fees, groceries, and my personal spending. She considered that a moment and then said "well yes I don't suppose anyone should be expected to live without those things". People are so quick to have an opinion about farming, the technology we use, the money we (apparently) make, and the shortcuts we (apparently) take, but they would never consider giving up any sort of technology in their own lives. Thanks for this post and keep up the good work!

  10. Conservation is where it needs to begin. We just have to keep telling our story.

    Thank you Kelly for joining this week's Country Fair Blog Party!
    Laurie - Country Link


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