When Nicole and I first started this journey as the Show-Me Sisters, we wanted to share our lives and passion for the agriculture industry. We wanted to show others the food we produce and they buy from the grocery story is healthy and safe. This may seem so easy to do, but the truth is most farmers are very private people. They want to raise their animals and harvest their crops in peace and not share the importance of what they do on a daily basis. So many consumers and individuals do not understand that farmers take pride in their work and produce the best and safest possible product.
While Wes and I were in Mexico, we met individuals from across the globe, from many different backgrounds, and ethnic groups. When talking to new people the conversation always seemed to turn to what do you do for a living? Wes would reply that he farms and my answer would be I teach agriculture to high school students. We would normally get standard responses such as, “Interesting” or “Wow that sounds like fun!” Some people did go deeper and ask more about our chosen career paths and wanted to know what we grew and produced. These individuals were the most enjoyable to talk to! Most of them had an open mind and I felt like they walked away from us with a better understanding of what a farmer looks like. They can now imagine one when they pick up a bag of frozen corn or a pound of hamburger and place it in their cart.
However, one couple started attacking Wes and I. “How can you afford to come to vacation in Mexico?” they asked in a very hostile tone. We simply explained that we had saved for it just like any other couple. They asked how much we made annually off of our products! We were shocked they would ask us such personal questions! Farmers and ranchers earned a median annual income of nearly $61,000 in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent made about $107,000 a year, while the bottom 10 percent made less than $30,000. Keep in mind that these figures do not take into consideration the expenses, as well as uncontrollable factors. Many small farmers have incomes off the farm to help make ends meet and we are no different. They then attacked us about the price of food in the grocery story and how we must be getting rich, and that is the only way we could afford to be laying on the beach in January. Wes and I were shocked that someone would take out food prices on us! For every dollar spent of food only roughly 16 cents is given to the farmer. The remaining 84 cents is spent on moving that product from the farm to the consumers plate.
Another individual spoke their mind during our supper on Monday night. While eating Hibachi with 8 other individuals, a lady spoke up to the man next to her and told him that Soy Sauce was not healthly for her family because it contained GMO’s. As I took a breath in to ask her if she knew what a GMO was, Wes poked me in the ribs and told me to not start anything. So I simply ignored her comment. As I thought more about the encounter later that night I realized that Wes was being modest about his career and the products he produces. In that moment, he was like most average farmers in America. They just want to be left alone to do what they love. If I could time travel, I would love to go back to that moment and simply engage the lady in a nice and respectful conversation about why she feels a GMO product is not healthy enough for her family to consume. When in reality her family is consuming products made from GMO’s already and she probably doesn’t even know it! A GMO or genetically modified organism has been around way before humans labeled it as a GMO. Breeders, farmers, and other individuals have been selecting organisms for their best traits and breeding them together for a desired offspring for many years. However, now we have a name for it. Am I scared to feed GMO’s to my family or suggest that others do the same? Of course not! These products have been studied and engineered and produced to create a safer and healthier food supply. They use less pesticides and herbicides. Some have the ability to resist disease and mature faster which helps feed our world’s growing population! The best outcome, in my opinion, is some products are even healthier than before with increased vitamins and nutrients. I hope that you take what I have said into consideration and do your own research. Do I expect everyone to agree with me? Of course not! But I would love for everyone to have an open mind about the time, effort, and awareness that farmers have when producing their products. If you would like more information check out the link below.
There are many untold stories floating around in the world. The story of where your food comes from is one that is vital to every individual. Food is essential for our body. Without agriculture and farmers where would we be in the world today?