the great-grandchild of European immigrants, I am extremely proud of my
ancestors’ ambitions to start a new life in America, the land of
opportunity. My grandpa and grandma started their small family restaurant in
Kansas City in the 1960s and with hard work eventually expanded to a larger
venue. Before long they had two restaurants, the original in Kansas City and a
new shop in Lake Ozark, Mo., and Ken Baker’s Restaurant became a hotspot for
families and some of Kansas City’s best fried chicken.
seems as if bigger is better, right? My grandparents, along with many other
business owners, are heralded for managing their stores successfully, growing
and changing with the times, and expanding their enterprise. However, it
appears that farm and ranch families are not held to the same standards as many
other industries and embracing technology, sustaining a livelihood and improving
efficiency are only selectively celebrated. “Big Ag”, the term anti-efficiency activists like to use, is bad.
example, does society condemn Coca-Cola for
being big? Or is Whole Foods publicly denigrated for commandeering the organic
market? Michelin, Goodyear and Firestone, for their huge tire empires, are
never reprimanded for their firm grasp on the tire industry. Why is it ok to be
profitable, self-sufficient and efficient in nearly every other industry in the
world but not food?
Stone, one of the U.S.F.R.A. Faces of Farming of Ranching, recently shared his
thoughts on this paradox on CNN’s Eatocracy blog and on
World Food Day, October 24, the Food Dialogues panel focused
on answering that very question. Panelists included the executive director of
the Center for Science in Public Interest, a Bloomberg news reporter, food
pundits and farmers.
agriculture, the viewpoints are varied and information is commonly misconstrued
but the efforts of MBA grads are often not unnoticed. I encourage all of those involved in agriculture to read Bo’s piece,
watch the Food Dialogues
and critically evaluate how you can convey that “Big Ag” isn’t bad.