High expectations of farmers
In his March 12 commentary regarding Indiana Senate Bill 373, Damian Mason noted that because 85 percent of Americans are at least two generations removed from farming ... much of what happens on the farm is shocking to suburbia.
There is an increasing recognition that we need to improve our agricultural literacy – our understanding of where our food comes from and how it is produced. Mason points out that farms are private property – and as such what goes on there is none of our business.
Mason tries to paint everyone who questions the bills before the Indiana legislature as a radical or animal rights vigilante. I am none of these. I am a just a suburban homemaker who likes to cook, support local businesses, and who cares about where I live. When I can, I try to buy my meat from local farms. I still purchase some meat from grocery stores and eat meat at restaurants, but that does not mean that I do not care how the animals are treated. If Americans are going to eat meat, then we owe it to ourselves, the animals and our natural surroundings to assure that the farms that raise these animals are operated to the highest standards.
I think highly enough of my local farmers that I set higher expectations for the sustainability of their operations. I want all of them to make a good living, keep a higher percentage of my food dollar for their hard and conscientious labor, and I want them to feel proud enough of their farm practices and their stewardship of their land that they would welcome visitors to their farm.