Thursday, May 6, 2010

What The Consumer Demands The Farmer Provides

(Rear view of black less-lard hog, side by side with overweight, white, mostly-lard, hog at Dept. of Agriculture experiment station. Photo by Al Fenn. Life Magazine, October 1954.)

"The agriculture sector is...partly responsible for the explosion in our health care costs because they're contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in health care costs."
- Senator Barack Obama, TIME Magazine, 2008.

Excuse me?!

Here's a little lesson in economics. When there is a demand for something, the supply increases.

Every time a consumer stands in front of a grocery store shelf and picks "this" product over "that" product, the demand for "this" product increases. This trickles back through the food manufacturers to the farmer eventually, therefore increasing the supply.

We farmers grow only what the consumer demands. For example, My Dad has told me stories of "lard hogs". Back in the day, the fatter the hog, the better, because every family had a tub of lard to cook with. Then somewhere along the line, consumers began desiring leaner pork, so farmers started breeding leaner pigs. Today, "voila", the modern hog has the muscle definition of my workout video instructors.

What I'm getting at is that I'm absolutely fed up (pun intended) with so many people blaming farmers for, well, just about everything.

What the consumer demands the farmer provides and we do a darn good job of providing whatever it is consumers demand in a safe, efficient manner.

If you're looking for someone to blame, perhaps you should take a closer look at YOUR food consumption decisions. Clean up your eating habits, and believe me, I will still grow what you demand.

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