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By Staff | Feb 11, 2011

While Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” celebrity, Mike Rowe, says that farmers are their own best advocate, he has turned into a pretty good advocate for farming and agriculture himself.

Among the dirty jobs he’s done is sort hogs in Iowa and castrate lambs in Colorado. What he learned is that groups like the HSUS who think they know more than farmers and ranchers about raising livestock, don’t.

Rowe got his eyes opened during his visits to farms telling those gathered at a recent Farm Bureau convention that, “What he saw proved that the farmer knew his livestock and his methods. That got Rowe thinking.

If these experts and agencies were wrong about what they saw on Dirty Jobs, what else were they wrong about? “It’s an amazing, gob-stopping task to feed 350 million people, three times a day,” he said. “And there are a lot of angry acronyms with their own agendas.” He said if you take a farmer and scrape off the dirt, you’ll find the greenest person on the planet.”

U.S. agriculture is a success story. Those angry acronyms who in instances like HSUS, are 99.5 percent deception, think otherwise. Even some like Ag Sec. Tom Vilsack, who claim to get it, only understand part of it.

Vilsack praised U.S. ag productivity, saying, “The real winners have been American consumers who use a smaller percentage of their income on food than people in almost any other nation. That’s money Americans can spend on other items, helping the rest of the economy.

I like to ask people what they do with that extra 10 percent or 15 percent in their pocket. And when was the last time they thanked a farmer?”

That said, he has allowed USDA to promote the Foodie culture, claiming to support diversity. The foodie/organic model of agriculture cannot feed the world. It rejects the biotechnology adoption that Vilsack praises out the other side of his mouth.

American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman said, “Every American owes a lot to farmers. Our diversity makes America’s foodie culture possible. Our productivity allows our society the luxury of debating how to produce food versus where to get food.”

It’s not just the foodies that don’t get it. Conservative ideologues on the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, hate ethanol because the biofuel industry is now projected to consume nearly 40 percent of U.S. corn production. They love tax cuts because they grow the economy, but don’t understand that the ethanol industry, which has been the greatest wealth creator for Heartland agriculture in my lifetime, was incentived with tax cuts.

The ethanol process returns 40 percent of the 40 percent of corn production consumed back to livestock industries as high quality feed. The ethanol industry also produces commercial quality corn sugar and CO2.

Farmers grew enough corn so that while ethanol use of corn has grown, so have feed usage and exports. This was accomplished because U.S. farmers are the most productive on earth. The trendline yield of corn has steepened while fewer resources were invested per bushel to grow yields in a sustainable system.

Vilsack noted that, “In my lifetime, there has been a 300 percent increase in corn yields, a 200 percent increase in soybean yields and the list goes on. That’s because we have not been afraid to embrace new technologies and approaches.”

Who is “we?” He couldn’t have been referring to foodie/organic producers who do just that. Organic standards prohibit use of genetic engineering.

That is what should be changed as genes are biologic and the method of cross breeding should not matter. I can rationalize prohibition of commercial fertilizers and pesticides in an organic program, but the gene mix is natural. It is not as if they are manufacturing new genes. Genetic modification is just a scientifically advanced way to cross-breed so rejection of GMOs is a rejection of natural science. Organic trendline yields are flat.

Stallman added, “The 2010 National Resources Inventory confirms we are producing more with fewer resources. Those of us running equipment, buying supplies and feeding livestock have known that all along.

Total U.S. crop yield has increased more than 360 percent since 1950. Farmers are producing 262 percent more food with 2 percent fewer inputs.

It takes 40 percent less feed for a cow to produce 100 pounds of milk that it did just 30 years ago. Any way you slice it, more with less makes sense for people and our planet.”

When the WSJ still quotes long discredited pseudo experts like Cornell University’s David Pinental, an ethanol hater, as their source for biased distorted statistics, as they did in a recent editorial, they join groups like the HSUS and PETA as fringe lunatics.

They, instead, need to join Mike Rowe someplace where real people still get their hands dirty instead of make up lies about those that do.

David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.

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