My Most Recent Anti-Ag Experience
By M.P. Cremer
One of my favorite things to do, anytime, anywhere, is play The Farming Game.
The Farming Game is a board game which is kind of like Monopoly, but better. Maybe I like it so much because I’m competitive and like to brag about my win when I inevitably beat my brother so bad, he has to quit out of shame.
Maybe I like it because it’s just quirky and ag-nerdy enough to make me laugh. Maybe I like it because in The Farming Game, I can take out $100,000 plus of “debt” (even though I know I’m not supposed to) to buy 50 cows, multiple leases, grain and fruit.
Regardless, I love The Farming Game because it’s not real life; it’s a fictional farm where you can almost guarantee four cuttings of hay and run your cows on the same land you put your wheat. In the real world, however, farming doesn’t always go this way.
People have been farming and raising livestock on the land, pretty much, since God said, “Let there be light.”
Over the years, we’ve made technological advances in agriculture, which allows farmers and ranchers to feed the world. However, one thing we cannot do in real life, but something I frequently do in The Farming Game, is plant crops anywhere and graze cattle anywhere.
According to National Geographic, “[Earth] is 71 percent water and 29 percent land, though large areas are uninhabitable deserts, mountains, lakes and permafrost. A little over 50 million square kilometers is farmland, not all of which is capable of supporting crops.”
You ask, why can we not grow crops in certain areas? Well, the anti-ag animal activist who came at me hard on Instagram recently seemed to think it was because us cattle ranchers are greedy with the land and won’t allow farmers to farm on prime grazing soil. This may be the case in some fantasy land, like The Farming Game, but it’s not the case in real life.
I give the extreme example of the Crazy Mountains, often called the Crazies in Big Timber, Mont. No one could grow a successful crop in the Crazies, even if it was deforested, its soil is not suitable to grow crops.
Even if it was suitable for growing hundreds of acres of turnips or corn, the weather is inclement and inconsistent. There’s a fair chance your crops would freeze, even in the dead of growing season. Just ask some of my more agriculturally adventurous friends about growing small gardens near the Crazies – they know the risk of it not working simply due to weather.
Taking a less extreme example, let’s look at the massive farm fields in the Midwest. In states such as Iowa and Nebraska, farmland is plentiful, and the agriculturists utilize it as such.
There’s also prime land in this area for grazing. Farmers and ranchers know what land should be used for farming and what land should house animals.
Another counterpoint to the anti-ag argument ranchers are taking land away from farmers, is even if every ranch on the planet was sold, all the ranchers quit their jobs and no one “forcibly mass produced” livestock as we’re so accused of, we would still need land for these animals to inhabit. I mean, what are we supposed to do with all these animals?
Usually, an anti-ag will come at this specific argument with something like, “Well you ranchers make livestock reproduce with artificial insemination and embryo transfer. You make animals have babies just so you can steal them away from their mother and sell them.”
I could see where one would think this on the surface; however, if one would go one, teeny, tiny, baby step further, you’d realize livestock are just like any other animal, and if we didn’t “make them reproduce,” they would still reproduce at the same rate on their own.
If livestock producers have control of breeding operations, we are actually able to control the livestock population and do it in a safe environment.
The last point I want to make here, before I get too long winded, is this anti-ag said I “had my thumbs in my ears” so I “couldn’t hear the truth.” When in fact, I asked multiple times to have an open, friendly conversation about animal ag and said I would provide statistics and facts to back up my claims. This anti-ag, however, was incredibly rude, sarcastic and downright wrong about many facts she shared regarding the ag industry.
When I called her on this, she (to quote the anti-ag here) put her thumbs in her ears, told me I was bragging about “feeding the world” to build up my ego and came at me with multiple bogus statics, which can be disproven by a simple Google search.
And the icing on the cake? She claimed animal agriculture – the industry whose entire purpose is to feed others – was actually causing starvation.
One thing we don’t have to deal with in my beloved Farming Game is uneducated, close-minded, anti-ags, publicly attacking one’s character, and for this, I am grateful.
But until fantasy becomes a reality, I’ll do my best to keep fighting the good fight for good food, good people and even the people who don’t support the ag industry but have to eat anyway.