Saturday, May 8, 2010

Knowledge of Ag: Haves vs Have Nots

I know you’re getting sick of hearing about “the train”, but I just have to share one more story.
When traveling by train dining is community seating so you’re always eating with people you don’t know. All the way out and coming back there were only 3 or 4 people I met during those meals that knew much about agriculture. Several knew about “factory farming” and lumped all of us into that category. This seemed like a good little representation of American folks…young, old, married, single, liberal, conservative, east coast, west coast, middle class, and I was amazed at the ag ignorance that prevailed.
When I arrived in D.C my cab driver who was from Africa asked what I was doing in town. I told him about HSUS and their attacks on animal agriculture and the Animal Ag Alliance Summit I was attending. He had heard of HSUS. At one point he asked, “What’s wrong with Americans, I love agriculture, that’s how we survive?” “We’re spoiled rotten.” I told him. He agreed. I just keep thinking about the vast chasm of a realization of the origin of food production that exists between the spoiled and the unspoiled.

Normalcy, What's That?

After attending the Animal Ag Alliance in Arlington, VA my train pulled back into Hutchinson, Kansas at 4:00 a.m. Sunday. I headed south for the three hour trip home but only made it down the road a ways before having to stop for a power nap. At 9:45 a.m. I walked into our small church back in northwest Oklahoma. Later that afternoon our church hosted an area wide youth rally for about 60 kids.

Monday morning I hopped in with a "stranger" aka "hubby" and traveled to Eastern Oklahoma to put bulls out. We caught up on each others week then unloaded those bulls, turned around and traveled back to Kansas – to the exact vicinity I’d been the morning before. We picked up more bulls there and brought them back to Oklahoma.

During our OK-KS-OK trip we discussed our daughter-in-law’s trip to NYC. She works with autistic children at our public school and was in NYC attending an autism convention (I was secretly jealous, Temple Grandin was one of the speakers) We were worried about the bomb scare. My oldest son, the one who’s hated large cities and crowds since he was a baby –called to express his anxiety about his wife’s safety.

Tuesday morning I left for the state History Day competition in OKC. Our oldest grandson and his partner made the finals and qualified to go onto D.C. with their presentation, “Taming The Terrible Twister- A Look At The Origin of Doppler Radar.”

After the competition I drove 2 hours home…but not before attending a poetry reading with youngest daughter. Giving her a big hug I left and headed home. Around 4:00 am we got a call, she was having emergency surgery; an ectopic pregnancy. The long trip back to OKC was spent praying for her recovery.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were spent with her and her wonderful in-laws. We all took turns being nurse to her and babysitter for their three.

On Wednesday I received a Facebook message asking about the State 4-H Proficiency Wildlife Shoot. Were we hosting it at our ranch on Saturday? I called home but no one seemed to know much about it. The only facts we had about it came from our local newspapers, and yes we were hosting it…?

On Thursday 50 elementary age kids were scheduled to visit our ranch. Games and a meal were planned. On Wednesday I called the school and told them our situation. Arrangements were made to skip the games and meal, but keep the plan to visit. I thank the Lord for family-my dad and son hosted the kids…all 50+ of them.

On Friday our oldest son calls to let us know there’s been another scare in NYC. He shares his plight to get his wife and the other 2 women a flight out of the city ASAP (we later find out that it wasn’t a bomb but an ice chest filled with water)

Today is Saturday. I’m contemplating the week’s activities, mishaps, and problems. Hubby made another run to Eastern Oklahoma to work cattle. Our youngest daughter is on the mend but I have questions about socialized health care. Like what will the “level of surgery severity requirements" be to be considered for an overnight stay in an actual room for recovery? At present it seems around 90 minutes appeases the insurance companies for the removal of an ovary and fallopian tube. I can’t imagine that time being cut much shorter as her speedy dismissal required another trip to the ER on Friday night.
The State 4-H Proficiency Wildlife Shoot did take place here. Miscommunication or maybe none…? I’m still not sure about that one.
I go outside for some peace and quiet. Not so fast. In my fenced backyard I find two men, both looking a little too rugged for wear, one holding a strange round radar looking thing pointing it towards me and my house. I approach them and ask what they’re doing. They tell me it’s a GPS system and they’ve been here working all week…surveying. At this point I don’t really care--I don’t have the energy. Shoot me, survey me, vaporize me, ah heck just surprise me… I’m pooped.

Nothing New Under the Sun Including Sustainable Development

  I wrote the piece below last summer after listening to KrisAnne Hall speak at the CICA Convention.  As the Global and U.S. Roundtable fo...