I am writing this sitting in the Dallas airport on my way home from the Animal Agriculture Alliance Summit in Washington D.C. (Although I am not posting until a couple days later.) I am feeling completely invigorating and on fire for our future in animal ag. It was an amazing Summit with great speakers with a range of topics and attendees from all over the country and all types of animal ag. As a dairy farmer that is used to going to dairy conferences, it was hard to get used to asking people not only what do you do, but what type of species do you work with. More than once when asked what I do, I said, “I am a producer”. Followed by the response of, “What type of producer?” Oh yeah, duh. “I am a dairy farmer.”
My Biggest Take Away
For me, the biggest take away was the fact that animal agriculture has to stand united. We have to speak with a common voice. We have an important story to tell. But too often we allow activists to divide us and therefore conquer us. And when we are so busy fighting amongst ourselves, we forget about what’s really important. When we are fighting with ourselves, it looks terrible to our consumers and the only person who wins is the activist. Do NOT ever forget that the goal of animal activists is to create a vegan world. They do not care what type of farm we are or what our practices are. They want to end animal ag. Period. And as we all know with our growing population that is not sustainable. We need animal agriculture to provide the protein and calories (and the organic fertilizer) to feed our growing world. We must understand each other and work together.
My Favorite Speech
One of my favorite presentations of the week was from Frank Mitloehner the greenhouse gas Guru. He had such an inspiring speech that was backed by sound science and data! I had the chance to meet with him briefly after his presentation. I am excited to follow along with him on Twitter (@GHGguru) as he continues to share his important research on the facts on the benefits of animal agriculture to our environment.
The Biggest Shock
I think what shocked me the most is the real threats and violence from agro terrorists. I have been the target of a couple small Instagram attacks over on New Mexico Milkmaid, but that is pretty much it. And I knew people received threats, but I didn’t understand the depth of the threats until this week. Some researchers are terrified every day when they go to work. Not knowing what to expect. It goes so much beyond cyber-bullying. I am talking legitimate, physical violence. The quotes from leaders in the activist community, we truly startling. Quotes like, “If we have to end a couple human lives to save the animals, that’s okay” or “If we have to kill thousands of animals to save other animals, that’s okay”. WHAT?! Killing humans? Killing animals? This is what we are up against.
Most Tweetable Moments
There were a few (okay, actually a lot) of moments and quotes that really stood out to me. And I had to tweet about them. Here are a few of my favorites. For the rest head over to my Twitter page: @NMMilkmaid
“We should not be making decisions on how/when to treat our animals with antibiotics based on marketing labels. We should be making these decisions based on the impacts to animal welfare.”
“The 140 million dogs and cats consumer more than 70 million people here in the US. Nobody talks about that! But everyone talks about the 9 million dairy cows.”
United We Stand
I don’t want this to scare you as much as I want it to inspire you to share with people about your farm. For so long farmers have been in the background. We stayed on the farm and never really interacted with our consumers. Well with social media, now is our chance to connect. To give a face and family on our products. And we have to stand united!
Udderly in love with animal ag,
New Mexico Milkmaid