There's a lot of things going on today that makes a person kind of nervous.
If you haven't noticed already, it's getting more expensive to eat. Read a few labels. There's a lot of reasons for the rising costs, but control of the foods we eat by a handful of big corporations is one of them. Ranchers, like me, are worried about a Brazilian corporation moving into first place as the biggest in the cattle feeding and packing business. The price I get and my markets for calves are going to be affected, no doubt.
I always thought that the USA should be a net exporter of meats, especially beef. Some recent figures show that we have become a net importer and that figure is on the rise. Is Brazilian beef next to invade our markets as a part of some trade agreement?
A month or two ago, there was a big meat recall on a bunch of burger that wasn't safe to eat. The USDA wasn't doing their job and this meat was distributed to our kid's schools. Well, we produce a darn good product and plenty of it here in the Cowboy state - beef. Why weren't our Wyoming kids eating good Wyoming beef in the first place?
Our congress has been working on a 2007 farm Bill for over a year now. This bill is far more than farming and crops. It even has subsidies for the energy industry in a bill that's supposed to help farmers, stabilize food production and pricing for consumers. The issues that stand between consumers and their food choices and a rancher and his fair return on his labor could be satisfied in such a bill. There's language that could help get kids eating local beef. There's a livestock title that could do something to halt the control of your food by mega corporations and bring fairness and fair prices back to the rancher.
The price of fertilizer, seed and fuel to get the food raised and to you has gone up, way up. And it keeps going. We're a part of a global economy now, so hold on.
Talking with my neighbors, they're worried. I heard too many of them say, "But what can you do?"
Well, it's said that there is always quiet before the storm. That great silence is one thing we can change. If your politicians and elected officials from your congress people to your school board don't hear from you, they'll think everything is hunky-dory. Speak up! Let your elected officials know you're worried about your kids future. They can do something about it. If they don't, well maybe it's time someone else took on the responsibility and the challenge of fighting the lobbyists and the status quo in D.C., in the state capitol, and on your commissions and councils.
The choice is our own. As ranchers and consumers in this global economy, do we want fair prices for our work and what we provide? Do we all want access to enough healthy food to feed our families? I'm tired of being nervous about the future. Let's do some good work and change things to the way we want them to be.