Commentary: In agriculture, labels matter—until they don’t

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Editor's note: The following commentary was written  by Gene Hall, Public Relations Director for the Texas Farm Bureau and published on the Texas Agriculture Talks website.

In my more cynical moments, I suspect that the great confusion and controversy surrounding agriculture today is on purpose.

In this mindset, I can easily conclude that those organizations that survive by demonizing modern agriculture manipulate the language and the labels to suit their own purposes. In this way, passions are inflamed. Money is raised. A public is misled. Calling you “Big Ag” could mean “Big Bucks” for me even though all I’ve contributed to the debate are a couple of politically charged words.

I concluded awhile back that, in a way, farmers and ranchers have aided and abetted this nonsense. Forty years ago, the people who worked the land were concerned about their image. In Farm Bureau meetings, you’d hear things like, “They think we are unsophisticated hayseeds.” For people making business decisions every day, managing risks that would scare a Fortune 500 CEO and dealing with the hard reality of science and profit, this was not acceptable.

We began to talk about agricultural “operations,” agricultural “producers” and even (gasp!) the agriculture “industry.” It’s hard to know for sure, but perhaps the almost completely meaningless political chattering about “industrial agriculture” began in this way. Activists hint at dark and sinister things when they use these descriptions. Usually, it just means big. But then, the market for the product is pretty darn big.

I think “agricultural producers” understand now that the best way to refer to themselves is the simple and most accurate way. That would be, farmers and ranchers. They do what they do on “farms and ranches.”

There are those who would try to shoehorn their own beliefs into models they don’t understand and labels that don’t accurately describe anything.  “Family farms and farmers have to be small and do things the way I want them done.”

Farmers and ranchers can accept the labels others affix to them, or they can tell their own story. Family farms account for more than 95 percent of all farms in the U.S. Some are very small and others are quite large. Together they produce an abundance of food that is the healthiest and safest this often hungry old planet has ever known. That’s the label I like best.

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Grain Storage Systems

Behlen Grain Storage Systems offers large capacity bins with diameters from 16’ to 157’ and capacities exceeding 1,500,000 bushels. All ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form