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Thursday, July 28, 2016

One Team, One Dream

Hey, guys! Danielle here, and I’m having a great summer interning at Kansas Soybean. I’m tackling all sorts of things, from learning about biodiesel to preparing an economic impact of Kansas agriculture report that we presented to our Representatives and Senators in Washington D.C.! It’s been an eye-opening experience in ways that I would never expect.

You see, I’ve always been a huge defender of conventional ag. I’m the first person to step up and say that GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) are not a bad thing, and list all the facts and figures to back it up. When people say they only eat organic foods, I was always the person to criticize them and bombard them with pro-GMO statements.

Obviously, telling them all the reasons I think GMO’s are good didn’t change their mind. It wasn’t until this internship that I finally realized that organic and non-GMO agriculture is still agriculture. When you’re in the grocery store, your goal is most likely to buy food to eat, whether you eat conventional foods or not. The goal of farmers everywhere is to feed people. You see how they line up?  

I didn’t.

I got so caught up in defending the farmers who use technology to produce as much healthy, whole food as possible that I forgot about this shared goal. I think a lot of people forget about it as well. There’s so much negative advertising about conventional ag out there that misleads you, the consumer, that it’s easy to lose trust in the food system.

Infographic from

Part of my training in this internship was to learn how to talk to people who are confused about who to trust. Here’s where I started to realize that those who choose to stray away from GMO’s aren’t these people who want to ruin the lives of farmers; they’re simply people who want to make sure they are eating food that is healthy and safe. Doesn’t everyone want that?

The fact of the matter is, conventional food is just as whole and healthy as food that’s produced organically, and there are several scientific reports to back that up. Now that we all know that, let’s stop separating the two and pitting them against each other and work towards our shared goal: feeding hungry people. You’re hungry, so you eat. Farmer’s eat the same food that they provide and can’t afford to produce unsafe food.

Trust your food system, it aims to serve you. After all, without you, the consumer, farmers wouldn’t have a job. Avoid listening to all the negative hoopla about conventional agriculture that some companies use to attract your dollars, and work towards your goal: feeding yourself and feeding your family. It doesn’t matter if it’s conventional, non-GMO, or organic. It’s all food and we are all hungry!

Forks up,


Friday, July 22, 2016

Too much, Too Fast: how social and network media are dividing a country

I am absolutely sick of how our broadcast and social media have caused this great country to become divided and broken.  It seems being the first to report a story is more important than being thorough enough to learn all ramifications of our words and who it inevitability hurts.  Our country needs unselfish leadership that worries about how decisions affect our brothers and sisters rather than gets a headline or a tweet.  All leadership is local.  It starts with each one of us saying no more. 

Are there corrupt people in every profession or trade?  Yes.  There are bad apples in every race or every gender or religion or anything else people want to use to divide us.   We have to all understand that we are talking about the extremes or radicals, not the normal population.  Social media did not come with an owner’s manual.  Social media came too fast for all of us.  It forced cable news media to lean to one side or another of a topic to “entertain” a captive audience and sell ads to stay in business.  We as citizens haven’t learned how to filter broadcast and social media bias and it is costing our country in a big way.

The movements that have turned so many people against the very police officers that protect us is amazing.  Police officers protect and serve.  Military soldiers do the same.  Firefighters, teachers, doctors, nurses and other professions serve the people of our country every day.

Farmers, ranchers, and veterinarians have decided to fulfill a calling to serve mankind by producing food.  Yet every day they are attacked by animal rights groups using broadcast and social media to paint an entire group of people that produce food for our citizens as bad.  It seems harmless until you see people leave farming and ranching because of the negativity and increased cost due to increased, unnecessary regulation.  We see people’s trust in farmers, ranchers and veterinarians falsely and needlessly eroded by activist groups due to social media amplification which results in higher cost of food production and subsequently higher food prices.  But most of all, it makes me ache to see the people that suffer the most are those that will not be able to afford food tomorrow.

Like everybody, farmers, ranchers and veterinarians are not perfect.  They work hard to do things better every day.  Nothing hurts farmers, ranchers and veterinarians more than learning that an individual has done something unethical by abusing animals, land, air, people or anything else in agriculture.  However, when the media paints these acts to represent our entire food supply system, it is no different than throwing an entire religion or sex or race or profession under the bus due to an individual act. 

People in our country need food, shelter, medical care, safety and we need to start having each other’s backs.  Farmers work hard to produce safe food and veterinarians work hard to keep animals healthy.  Other service professions work hard to provide safety, peace, healthy communities and much more.  
We can’t allow activists to use social and broadcast media to increase hunger and violence in this country anymore.

Stop and think about how repeating the thoughts you see on your favorite network or social media feed will help or hurt you, your family or your neighbor.  We must think about how knee jerk reactions and blindly following ideology from social media could hurt people who will need our help long-term in this country.  We are blessed to live where you can be anything you want in life, and if you stumble, we will pick you up.  But don’t you worry.  Farmers, ranchers, and veterinarians are here to serve and care about other Americans as they do for their own family and the animals they raise.  Always here, always ready: providing food for our neighbors in America.

Dan Thomson, Riley County, Kansas


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