Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager
“Sticks for Dinner? No. Thank you.”
Today (2/16/17), as I write this month’s column, the local and national news is abuzz with the “Day without Immigrants” protests in which a number of restaurants and businesses across the country closed to demonstrate the importance of immigrant labor and immigrant people in the United States. Farming and agriculture in the United States depends on labor in order to provide food for this nation’s people…immigrant labor is an important part, especially in certain types of farms.
What would happen if farmers decided to hold a similar event… a Day without Agriculture? What would that day look like? Would anyone care? Would anyone know? Would there be marches on Washington DC? Would there be Riots on the street? I don’t think so.
Our food, fiber, and fuel system (fortunately) comes with plenty of bulk handling, warehouse storage, and freezer space…one day of “no farming/no agriculture” may have little direct impact in people’s lives in the grand scheme of things. We have food aplenty!
But try this…A Week or a Month without Agriculture would seriously damage this thriving Country. Imagine the ramifications…
· No fresh milk (maybe plenty of sour cream)
· No fresh eggs (also difficult on juvenile delinquents)
· Shortage of Hay (that’s animal abuse)
· Less clothing (some things, you don’t want to see)
· No bacon (sacrilege)
· Shortage of pharmaceuticals (sorry sick people)
· Fewer apples (no keeping doctors away)
· No broccoli (and President H. W. Bush cheers)
· High priced cornflakes (There goes a major food group)
· Wilted flowers (Sorry Dear)
· Less fuel (finally a reason to own a Volt)
· Shortage of Christmas trees (good for Walmart)
· No pumpkins (cancel Halloween)
· No steaks (no Soy-steaks either)
· Tobacco habit…big problem. (there goes government tax revenue)
· No beets (I found a positive)
· No honey (bees are happy)
· No white meat verses dark meat (no fighting at Thanksgiving)
· Chocolate dipped strawberries for Valentine’s Day (perhaps a rock substitute)
· No local produced micro greens (sorry urban hipsters)
· A run on beer, wine, or spirits (water perhaps)
· Bourbon (With 3 to 5 years of barrel aging, this may not be an issue)
· We would have to eat sticks?
My dresser drawers are full of event-based running and Cubs T-shirts. However, one shirt (compliments of my colleague at the Rock Island County Farm Bureau) is different, clearly conveying today’s message…
If we had a Year without Agriculture, society as we know it would end. A sound food supply has been the basis of society for many millenniums. Today, in the United States, 1 % of the population is producing food which allows the other 99% to choose another vocation… lawyer, doctor, marketer, politician, accountant, lobbyist, salesman, designer, architect, construction worker, bureaucrat and farm bureau manager. But what if the 99% had to grow/raise their own food?
National Agriculture Day will be observed on March 21, as the season changing from winter to spring. This is a day of new life, fresh growth, reflecting on farming and optimism.
So this National Ag Day, I think I will just say “thank you” to farmers for allowing me not to farm! No protesting necessary.