Agriculture is a major industry for the state of Missouri. But the sad truth is many rural Missourians cannot make ends meet by farming any more. They have to get jobs in town and then farm crops or livestock on the side just hoping to add a few dollars to their pockets and to put food on the table. Foreign interests and investors own more farm and forest land acres in the United States than the size of the entire state of Tennessee. Giant agribusinesses worth billions of dollars spend millions on lobbying law makers for their own interests while they pay no mind to the small family farms disappearing.
As a veterinarian, I have delivered the baby goats who were having a hard time during kidding. I have vaccinated and castrated the club lambs that were going to be shown at the county fair. I have treated the sick sheep who were weak with barber pole worms or lame from foot rot. I have sutured up the ewe with the wounds from a dog attack. I have consoled the kids on the farm when their favorite pet laying hen was too ill with respiratory disease to make it. I also raise my own chickens for eggs and meat, so I know the joys of that delicious, wholesome food that comes right out your backyard and the sorrows when the raccoons decide they like pastured chicken just as much as you do!
People are just thankful that someone cares about their animals and I’m always happy to be thanked with a carton of eggs to take home or some tomatoes or cucumbers to can. I am not out there serving the gigantic corporate factory farms. I’m helping the hobbyists, the 4H kids, and those that want to make a few dollars by selling a share of their eggs, vegetables, and fruit at the farmer’s market and put healthy, all natural protein on their table for their families. They are my friends and neighbors.
Not the CAFO owners who treat the livestock horribly and dump toxic sludge on our lands and in our waterways. Not the large scale monoculture row crop producers who spew endocrine disrupting herbicides over the grains and soybeans they produce. Not the big agribusinesses who are only in it for the billions they rake in from the sales of patented seeds and petrochemical based fertilizers and insecticides.
I promise to stand up for the small family farmers who raise their crops with pride and their animals with care because they help feed us and because it’s just the right thing to do.