Minnesota Farmer

Of coarse I’m right!

Everyone wants to believe that their opinion is right.  Sometimes we don’t know why, but we are right.  Sometimes we jump on an emotional bandwagon and never look back pledging everything we have to the emotional belief.

My kids say that I seem to be able to talk on any subject as if I’m always right.  They in their span have also developed the ability to speak as if their opinion is the right one, I got it from my ancestors and so did they.  I have yet to see any of us argue a point on emotion only.  We are all prone to reading and study.  We know our subject, and some of us know a lot of different subjects.

Our food can be a very emotional subject.  For some the thought that there could be hormones, antibiotics, pesticides or GMO’s in their food is an emotional no.  Since I work in the food industry I see things a bit differently.  I see the efforts of farmers and ranchers, haulers, processors and groceries to put the best product out for the consumer to eat.  We are all in this together.

Once in a while I will see a grocery put up a sign that I know is indefensible in trying to calm consumer fears that they cannot defend.  Sometimes labels are to promote a food as a premium product.  Here are a few.

Hormone free

This label is completely indefensible.  Without hormones, there is no life.  When placed on beef this should be worded “Grown with no added hormones.”  Folks get concerned about the possibility of the hormone estrogen in their beef, but never check to see the level of hormones.  Your lettuce has many times the level of estrogen in it than beef raise with hormone implants.


I’ve seen this label placed on many different products.  Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not.  The true organic producer has to go through a three year certification process.  They are subject to random check and a grueling documentation process.  Make one mistake and you are out for three years.  There is no one that can prove without a doubt that organic is better for you.  This is an emotional label.  If you want to pay more for organic, great.  My organic farmer friends need the money since they spend many extra hours and lots more money to produce organic foods.  It is best to buy certified organic in your store, or even better, only buy from a certified organic producer.  Any other produce is suspect.  There are times that the organic label has been put on foods that are not organic to satisfy demand.

Pesticide free

Produce that is grown without the use of pesticides may or may not be better for you.  Many fruits and veggies can be grown without pesticides naturally.  They are usually thick skinned or naturally pest resistant.  Those plants that are grown with the use of pesticides are checked by inspectors to be sure they do not contain more than the allowed limit of pesticides.  It is in the best interest of the grower to produce your fruits and veggies without pesticides and they use them only when needed.  The extra cost cuts into their already slim profit margin.

Antibiotic free

No livestock producer wants to see their animals sick.  Just as you protect your children they also seek to protect their animals.  If an animal needs a shot or a bit of cough medicine they get it.  Many farmers try to produce antibiotic free meat since it brings a premium from the consumer.  At times whole herds of animals can be removed from an antibiotic free process when a sickness breaks out.  This is a financial loss to the producer, but they will do it to get the premium label that some demand.

All medication has a withdrawal period, a time that it cannot be used before slaughter.  Farmers and processors are monitored to be sure that they follow withdrawal guidelines.  If antibiotics show up in the meat, it cannot be eaten.

Grass fed, free range, cages (So many sub subjects here.)

University studies show that if there is a bias on grass fed beef, it is in favor of conventionally fed.  The HDL/LDL levels in beef that are conventionally fed seems be better than grass fed.  An animal raised conventionally also grows faster since it does not have to go so far in search of food.

Corn is a grass.  Saying that because you feed corn to an animal you are doing something unnatural is bogus.

Living out doors is better.  Living out doors exposes food animals to predators and disease as well as some really nasty weather.  Being in and enclosed area also allows the farmer or rancher to watch for and treat disease or injury.  Just as you would not like to live in a tent or cave, food animals prefer barns.

Injury as animals compete for food is one of the biggest problems faced in raising livestock.  Independent studies have found that when pigs are allowed the choice of free range or stall housing they will choose stalls 90% of the time, they feel safer in the stall.

There are diseases and parasites that live in the soil that can infect animals raised outside.

GMO free

This label is the most troubling for me.  There are so many genetic modifications that have been made to our food plants and animals and some people try to lump them all into the same basket.  Just because a food product has been modified to grow faster, use less water, use less fertilizer or resist pests does not mean it is dangerous.  One of the staunchest critics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), environmentalist Mark Lynas, recently said he had been mistaken and that the threat of GMOs had been exaggerated by him and others for years.  Every piece of evidence I have seen that says GMO’s are bad for you has had hundreds of pieces of evidence brought forth to show how wrong they were.

I know that many feel in their gut that I am wrong, but when the science is so overwhelming, I know I’m right.



2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi Michael, Very much like this posting and would like to quote from it in a future blog on my site. I assume you meant “course” when you wrote “coarse” in the title…..a common mistake. I’m in general agreement with you on all your observations. There is plenty of science to back you up.

Comment by lenrosen4

Yeah, quote away.

Comment by Michael

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