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We Can Change Perception

Written by Dennis Sun
        It’s said, “if you want truly to understand something, try to change it.” As I wrote last week, the beef industry and all of agriculture is under attack from those who believe in myths and untruths. Myths and untruths are easier for some to believe than the truths, and that is perception at its worst.
    We’re all hearing the stories on how the world will start to come to an end beginning in 2012, as some historical calendars don’t go past the year 2012. I’ve heard some people talk about it who really believe it, and we will most likely not change their minds until 2013. I wish I knew if it was true – I might adjust my year-end taxes.
    Seriously, we have to take the attack on beef and agriculture head on starting now. We do have some great local and national tools to help us, like our livestock and ag organizations – Cattle Women, Ag in the Classroom, the Checkoffs and the best tool of all, the producers. All of these entities can tell the true story well and we all have the truth and the information to substantiate it.  
    Say we make it past the year 2012 and on to the year 2050. Those in the know say the human population will need a minimum of two times the amount of food we now produce. The most important food is the protein source and only those with land can produce it. Remember, you can’t produce more land, just improve it. Land is like a piece of pie, one cannot make it bigger, just make the slices of pie smaller and better. We are already doing that with milk, meat supplies and crops. We have a lot on our side today with science and technology. If we didn’t have the science and technology, Greg Quakenbush, DVM, Director of Beef Veterinary Operations for Pfizer Animal Health, says it would require 150 million more acres and 85 million cattle, not to mention the other meats to meet today’s food demands.  
    Organic and natural products do have a place in our food chain, and I really respect those who produce those products, but I don’t understand how we can feed the world in the future with just those ag products. I don’t agree that as ag producers we should promote one type of produce as more healthy or better for you over another. We are all in the same battle and there are studies out there showing that modern food technology is safe.
    In meat products for instance, there is a movement to eliminate antibiotics for therapeutic use. I’m hearing that in countries where it’s banned they are now using way more antibiotics to cure the all the sick animals. Where is the middle ground on that issue?  
    The public does not accept labels of mad cow disease and swine flu, nor should they, but our society has gotten over other labels like leper colonies and others. They were solved by modern medicine and truths.  In our society, everything boils down to a dollar and marketing. Good marketing usually means more dollars. Good agriculture is the key to making it to 2050 and on.
    One can’t climb the ladder to success with your hands in your pockets.
Dennis