Sunday, April 18, 2004

Ken Midkiff has a long history with the Sierra Club. On April 2, 2004 he wrote this fairy tale.

Agribusiness PR pawn points finger at ‘radicals’ (more)

To which Craig Henkel a 4th generation farmer from Nebraska responded. Thank you Craig.

Ken, thanks for your reply!
In the third paragraph of your comments you state
"small farms are perfectly capable of feeding this
nation..." I think you might be right on the button
there, the problem is that the "small farms" that
might feed the U.S. one day, will be from another
Let's look at the rest of the comments...
In the first paragraph it looks as if you've been
digging pretty deep to get some dirt on Trent. Haven't
you ever made a mistake?
In the second paragraph you state that "modern
agriculture" has nothing to do with quality or even
quantity. How do you come up with that? Ever heard of
"supply and demand"?
If you've toured some of the large livestock
operations, did you see animal abuse? Were the animals
fed and watered, with a dry place to live?
I raise livestock and I know that an unhappy,
unhealthy, uncared for animal is an unprofitable one.
There is no room for error when dealing with
livestock, if you abuse or neglect them and their pay for it.
You state that small farms make small messes and
large farms make large messes, that is true. But do we
keep track of the small farms and their messes? Do we
make them pay through the nose when an accident
happens? How many small farms have accidents? Are
their enough environmental accidents on small farms to
actually make a greater negative impact on our
environment than the accidents on large scale farms
who are required to clean up the accidents?
"Feeding the World"?? That's such a laugh!!
We've been told how we will need to do that for such a
long time!!
What's the "Green Revolution"?
You grew up on a farm...why and when did you leave?
Why am I not a REAL farmer, you don't even know
anything about me. (I don't toil in a cubicle)
What is BigAg?
Tell me more about "free range".
Antibiotic/hormone-free products???? Didn't you
know that every living organism needs hormones to
function and we all produce our own? Did you know that
a serving of certain vegetables has many times more
hormones in it than implanted beef? Did you know that
there has never been ANY scientific link between use
of antibiotics in food animals and resistance to
antibiotics in humans? Did you know that antibiotic
use in food animals actually makes a safer end
product? What percentage of meat eaten today actually
has had any contact whatsoever with antibiotics? I
would assure you, it's a very small percentage. I know
that the only time I use antibiotics, is when I have a
sick animal. It doesn't happen very often, but when
one does become sick, it is imperative to treat it
right away to completely cure the sickness.
Having to treat an animal is a no-win situation.
First the animal is not feeling well so it's not
eating. That means it is not gaining weight or taking
care of it's young, or producing milk. Second, sorting
a sick animal out of a pen is stressful for all
animals involved. There is risk that an animal could
become injured during sorting or even injure me. Then
there is the expense of the antibiotic and labor
necessary to treat the animal. Keeping the animals
happy and healthy is absolutely necessary, whether in
a large or small operation. Dead or sick animals =
dead or sick operations.
"Locally grown" kinda makes sense to me. The only
problem is that I like orange juice in the morning, it
comes from Florida. My oatmeal was grown in Canada. I
don't know any farmers (small or large) who raise
coffee beans in the U.S..
I am a fourth generation family farmer, is that
sustainable enough for you?
What exactly is a "family farm"?
What is your idea of a perfect farm? Give me some
figures as to...number of acres. number of animals.
What size of tractors could we find on a "family
farm". Maybe we shouldn't have tractors at all? All
hand labor, or maybe horse drawn equipment?
Having come from a farm background, maybe you could
put together somekind of budget so I can see how this
small family farm is going to survive and thrive. If
the numbers look good enough, I will try it!
What are we going to raise, and who is going to
process and package it for us?
Please reply!
Craig Henkel