By Chris Chinn
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Today I should have been in Chicago attending the Food Dialogues discussion regarding transparency in food.  I wasn’t able to attend because we are still trying to plant beans on our farm and we have hay that is ready to be mowed.  We were also selling calves today so there was a lot going on at our farm. Kevin couldn’t handle it all alone so I stayed back to tend to my responsibilities on the farm.

I did manage to sneak away for about an hour (while Kevin was hauling calves to market) to listen to the Food Dialogues discussion on my cell phone.  I wasn’t able to hear it all but what I did hear was excellent.  (I plan to listen to the entire discussion later; you can listen too by clicking here.) I know two of the farmers who were on the panel, Will Gilmer & Bo Stone.  Will & Bo represent USFRA as two of the Faces of Farming & Ranching.  Will & Bo did a great job of respecting all methods of farming and explaining why they choose to farm using the methods they do.

One member of the audience pointed out that choice is a great thing when it comes to food, but we shouldn’t portray one method of farming as the right way or the only way when talking about choice.  This audience member said many times when he goes to a Farmer’s Market he hears farmers putting down other farmers to sell their product and this concerned and confused the audience member. He said if choice was a good thing, why were farmers putting down other farmers for their choices.  What a great question.  I have always said diversity in agriculture is a great thing and every farm and farm family is different and that is ok.  There is no wrong or right way to farm.

I did listen long enough to hear one panelist quoting an Australian study regarding hogs being fed GMO corn and stomach inflammation being increased in the hogs due to the GMO corn.   I was disappointed that the panelist didn’t disclose that this study is being questioned by numerous scientists and that the results weren’t conclusive.  It’s information like this that confuses and scares consumers.   This same study also found that the hogs fed the GMO corn were less likely to develop heart abnormalities or liver problems.

I can’t wait to listen to the beginning of the discussion because I tuned in late.  Bo Stone’s closing statement really hit home for me because it mirrored what is in my heart and Kevin’s heart when it comes to farming.  Bo said, “Farming isn’t what I do, it’s who I am.”  Well said Bo!  If you are curious about how food is produced, please take the time to watch this discussion online.  Maybe some of your questions will be answered.