From cow to kitchen: Appreciate the origins of food

Written by | Aaron Hamilton |

Think of your dinner plate. What is on it? Does it have a hamburger and fries? Or is it zucchini pasta with tomato sauce? No matter what makes up your plate, agriculture and farming form the basis.
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, only 2 percent of the United States population is in farming and ranching. That is roughly 6 million people, or double the size of Los Angeles. Growing up with an agriculture background, it feels like everyone you know raised some form of livestock and proudly showed them in each summer’s county fair.However, I knew this wasn’t anywhere close to what the real world is like. I was in the National Forensic League and participated in the science fair every spring. Such organizations showed me there are other ways of thinking.Today it still shocks me how some people don’t know where milk comes from or where fruit and produce is grown. For me those facts are common knowledge, but for the majority of the population, it never is brought up.
Every day I hear people talk about agriculture and the harm it does. Those people don’t realize how much of their daily life is affected by the 2 percent of the population that is directly involved in agriculture.

Instead, they focus on outdated practices and myths. They do not look into the facts.The agriculture industry supports many more people indirectly. Once you get away from the families and organizations that are directly involved in farming and agriculture, the number of people that are linked to agriculture is 15 percent of the U.S. population. That is close to double the size of Texas and includes everything from shipping a product to stocking it in a store.

Once a product is in a store, a customer sees only the product, not the process the product went through. In essence, they see a carton of milk and not a cow or the rancher who raised the cattle. As you make your dinner plate tonight, think of everything that went into your meal. Make an effort to appreciate the work and dedication that was put into your food. For you to grill a burger or to prepare zucchini for pasta, it could take 30 minutes to an hour. For the farmers and ranchers who grew the cattle or produce, it was months of hardship and years of dedication.

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