Path Home Shows 2012 Show Archive February 2012 Show 1209 Urban/Rural Divide - Who's Staying? Who's Going?

Urban/Rural Divide - Who's Staying? Who's Going?

Less than 2% of the U.S. population is actively involved in production agriculture which leads to the increased misunderstanding in our society between urban and rural America.

Show Dates

Show 1209: Urban/Rural Divide - Who's Staying? Who's Going?

Air date: February 26, 2012

 

Transcript

ROB MCCLENDON:  WELL LESS THAN TWO PERCENT OF THE U S POPULATION IS ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE THESE DAYS, DOWN MORE THAN TEN PERCENT FROM 1950.  NOW THAT CHANGE IN OUR SOCIETY INCREASINGLY LEADS TO MISUNDERSTANDINGS BETWEEN URBAN AND RURAL AMERICA.  JOINING ME NOW WITH MORE ON THIS IS OUR ANDY BARTH.

ANDY BARTH:  WELL ROB, SOME OKLAHOMA AGRIBUSINESS COMPANIES ARE BEING CRITICIZED, AFTER A GROUP OF ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS SHOT UNDERCOVER FOOTAGE OF WHAT THEY SAY SHOWS INHUMANE PRACTICES; SOMETHING THAT MEMBERS OF THE AGRICULTURE COMMUNITY STRONGLY DISPUTE.  AND IT POINTS TO A BIGGER DILEMMA, HOW DO AGRICULTURALISTS HELP CONSUMERS UNDERSTAND COMMON PRODUCTION PRACTICES?  WHICH IS WHY, OKLAHOMA LAWMAKERS MET WITH OSU STUDENTS TO TALK ABOUT THE GROWING URBAN-RURAL DIVIDE.

LIFE ON THE FARM IS CHANGING EVERYDAY, THEY’RE MORE EFFICIENT, MORE ADVANCED, AND MORE CORPORATE IN NATURE, WITH CONSUMERS GETTING FURTHER AWAY FROM THE FARM.

MIKE SCHULTZ:  WE HAVE TO KEEP IN MIND THAT AS WE GET MORE AND MORE GENERATIONS REMOVED FROM THE FARM IT BECOMES MORE DIFFICULT TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE CONSUMER. WE HAVE TO COMMUNICATE WITH THEM IN THEIR LANGUAGE.  WE CAN’T COMMUNICATE WITH THEM IN OUR LANGUAGE. WE HAVE TO TALK TO THEM IN TERMS THAT THEY UNDERSTAND.  I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT THAT WE ALWAYS STRESS QUALITY TO THE CONSUMER. THAT FOOD PRODUCTS GROWN, PROCESSED IN THE UNITED STATES ARE NOT JUST THE BEST BUT, QUALITY WISE, FAR OUT-RANK THE REST OF THE WORLD.

ANDY:  SENATOR MIKE SCHULTZ IS ONE OF TWO LAWMAKERS SPEAKING TO AGRICULTURAL STUDENTS AT OSU ABOUT THE IMPACT PUBLIC POLICY WILL HAVE ON THEIR PROFESSION.

BRIAN CRAIN:  THE PROBLEM THAT I HAVE WITH THE MESSAGING THAT GOES THERE IS AT SOME POINT WHEN PEOPLE ARE TUGGING ON YOUR HEART ABOUT SO MANY THINGS FOR SO LONG, UNFORTUNATELY YOU BECOME CALLUSED TO THAT.

ANDY:  BRIAN CRAIN IS AN URBAN SENATOR FROM TULSA AND SAYS HE UNDERSTANDS THE MISCONCEPTIONS BETWEEN PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMERS.

CRAIN:  I THINK THE THING THAT I LOOK AT WHEN I GO TO A GROCERY STORE IS THAT THIS FOOD CAME FROM THE BACK AND IN TO THE FRONT.  I DON’T REALLY THINK STRAIGHT OFF ABOUT THE FACT THAT WHEAT WAS REQUIRED TO GROW THE BREAD, OR THE CATTLE NEEDED TO BE RAISED IN ORDER TO HAVE THE BEEF, THINGS LIKE THAT.

ANDY:  AND THAT LACK OF UNDERSTANDING IS WHAT OKLAHOMA STATE’S SENIOR IN AGRIBUSINESS, HALEY BAUMGARDNER, SAYS HER GENERATION NEEDS TO ADDRESS.

HALEY BAUMGARDNER:  A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE REALLY NERVOUS AND AFRAID OF THE NEW TRAITS AND THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES WE’RE USING FOR CROP PRODUCTION, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THEY DON’T SEE THAT IN THE NEXT 50 YEARS THAT WE HAVE TO PRODUCE 100% MORE FOOD FOR THE PEOPLE IN AMERICA TODAY. THE SAME THING GOES WITH LIVESTOCK. ESPECIALLY WITH THE LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION, I KNOW, WE HAVE H-S-U-S AND PETA CONSTANTLY SAYING THAT WE AS AGRICULTURALISTS AREN’T DOING THE THINGS THAT ARE BEST FOR THE ANIMALS, WE AREN’T TAKING CARE OF THEM. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE WANT THE CONSUMERS TO REALIZE THAT WE AS AGRICULTURALISTS AND PRODUCERS WE TAKE THE BEST CARE OF THOSE ANIMALS THAT WE CAN BECAUSE THAT’S OUR LIVELIHOOD, THAT’S HOW WE MAKE OUR MONEY, AND IF WE DON’T TAKE GOOD CARE OF OUR ANIMALS THEN WE DON’T GET THE YIELDS AND THE RETURNS ON THOSE INITIAL INVESTMENTS THAT WE MAKE.

ANDY:  IN A RECENT VIDEO THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES TARGETED OKLAHOMA HOG PRODUCERS, ACCUSING THEM OF MISTREATING THEIR ANIMALS.  AND BAUMGARDNER SAYS AGRICULTURALISTS NEED TO STEP UP AND BE HEARD BEFORE THEY ARE ATTACKED.

HALEY:  FOR THE LONGEST TIME, WE HAVE BEEN IN THE REACTIVE STATE, SO WE WAIT FOR THOSE ACTIVISTS AND H-S-U-S AND PETA TO START SLANDERING U S AGRICULTURE AND THEN WE IN TURN REACT TO THAT. BUT INSTEAD I THINK WE NEED TO WORK ON DOING A BETTER JOB OF STAYING PROACTIVE.  THERE’S STILL MORE ROOM TO GROW IN TERMS OF REACHING OUT TO THOSE UNINFORMED CONSUMERS AND WORKING ON EDUCATING THEM ABOUT AMERICAN AGRICULTURE, AS OPPOSED TO WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO TALK BAD ABOUT US, AND US HAVING TO SAVE FACE, AND REALLY WORK ON EDUCATING THOSE AFTER SOME OF THE DAMAGE HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE.

ANDY:  AND SUCH CHALLENGES ARE NOT LIMITED TO QUESTIONS OVER LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION.

WATER PLAYS A HUGE ROLL FOR PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE.  AND SENATOR BRIAN CRAIN SAYS IT’S AN ISSUE WITH STATEWIDE CONSEQUENCES.

CRAIN:  WHEN YOU START TALKING ABOUT WATER, WHAT YOU REALLY LOOK AT ARE DIFFERENT REQUIREMENTS FOR WATER IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE STATE.  SOUTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA HAS AN ABUNDANCE OF WATER, WHETHER OR NOT IT’S A SURPLUS, WHETHER OR NOT THEY HAVE ACCESS IS A QUESTION. BUT THEY’VE GOT AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF WATER AND HOW DO WE UTILIZE THAT IN ORDER TO BENEFIT THEM AND OTHER AREAS?  HOW DO WE USE WATER IN WESTERN OKLAHOMA TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE’S A QUALITY OF LIFE AND AN ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT THAT WE ARE USING THAT?  WATER PROVIDES MANY CHALLENGES FOR US THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

ANDY:  NOW THE UNITED NATIONS PREDICTS THAT BY THE YEAR 2050 THE WORLD POPULATION WILL REACH OVER TEN-POINT-FIVE BILLION PEOPLE; A THIRTY PERCENT INCREASE FROM THE CURRENT POPULATION OF SEVEN BILLION.  AND U S AGRICULTURALISTS, LIKE SOME OF THE STUDENTS AT OSU, WILL BE CHARGED WITH THE TASK TO PROVIDE FOOD FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF THOSE PEOPLE.

ROB:  NOW YOU MENTIONED THAT OKLAHOMA WAS TARGETED IN THIS LATEST H-S-U-S VIDEO.  WHAT’S BEEN THE REACTION FROM LOCAL AGRICULTURAL GROUPS?

ANDY:  WELL ROB, THE OKLAHOMA PORK COUNCIL SAID IN A STATEMENT THAT THEY CONDEM THE MISTREATMENT OF ANY ANIMAL AND I QUOTE, WE URGE EVERYONE TO VIEW THE VIDEO CAREFULLY HOWEVER, BECAUSE SOME OF THE PRACTICES SHOWN CAN BE TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT BY THOSE NOT FAMILIAR WITH LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION.

ROB:  NOW LAST WEEK MCDONALD’S CAME OUT WITH A STATEMENT THAT SAID THAT THEY ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTING MEAT FROM CONFINEMENT FARMS LIKE WAS IN THE VIDEO.  AND THEY SHOW THESE GESTATION CRATES.  NOW I WANT YOU TO EXPLAIN TO EVERYONE, YOU’RE A FARM KID, I WANT YOU TO EXPLAIN TO EVERYONE WHY THEY WOULD PUT THESE SOWS IN GESTATION CRATES.

ANDY:  ROB, THESE CRATES ARE ALL ABOUT SAFETY.  WHEN YOU PUT SOWS TOGETHER THEY ARE GOING TO FIGHT VIOLENTLY.  AND IF THESE SOWS ARE PREGNANT, YOU RUN THE RISK OF LOSING A LITTER DUE TO THE TRAUMA THAT THESE SOWS ENDURE.  NOW ONCE THE SOW HAS HER LITTER, IT IS GUARANTEED THAT SHE IS GOING TO STEP ON AND/OR LAY ON SOME OF THE PIGS, AND WHEN SHE DOES, THOSE PIGLETS ARE GOING TO EITHER BE SEVERELY INJURED OR KILLED BECAUSE OF THAT.  THESE CRATES ARE GOING TO MAXIMIZE THE PIGLETS' SAFETY AND COMPLETELY ELIMINATE THE SOWS FIGHTING.

ROB:  SO IT SOUNDS LIKE THESE COMPANIES ARE PUTTING THEM IN THESE GESTATION CRATES NOT ONLY FOR ECONOMICAL REASONS BUT FOR HUMANE REASONS.  I GUESS MY NEXT QUESTION IS, WITH A COMPANY AS BIG AS MCDONALD’S SAYING THEY ARE NO LONGER GOING TO ACCEPT THIS MEAT, WHAT DOES THAT DO TO THE INDUSTRY?

ANDY:  WELL ROB, THE NATIONAL PORK PRODUCERS COUNCIL SAYS THAT THIS DECISION IMPACTS THE INDUSTRY GREATLY AND THEY SAID IN A STATEMENT THAT THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PRODUCERS TO RESPOND TO CONSUMERS DEMANDS.

ROB:  HMM, WITH CHANGING TIMES DOWN ON THE FARM, IT LOOKS LIKE WE MAY HAVE A FEW MORE DEAD PIGLETS IN OUR FUTURE, THANK YOU SO MUCH ANDY.