Ellen Degeneres: Can you hear me now?
It’s been a roller coaster of a week for us at our ranch in eastern South Dakota. From massive flooding to a viral blog post that has garnered millions of page views, I don’t think I could have prepared myself for the highs and lows of the last seven days.
While we contended with flooded pastures and a wet basement; some of our neighbors had it much worse. One of our friends had to evacuate her home with her family in the middle of the night. Another producer in our area lost 18 fat steers due to a lightening strike. And to top it all off three tornadoes touched down an hour from us in Sioux Falls, devastating homes and businesses in the urban area.
Of course, these events compounded the stress producers are already facing with ongoing trade wars, suspicions of cattle market manipulation, low commodity prices, rising debt loads and many of our acres sitting underwater and unplanted. In a nutshell, 2019 has been tough.
And to add insult to injury, there are celebrities, politicians and media pundits who currently think it’s trendy to blame climate change on cattle. It’s a myth our industry continues to battle, but it’s only gotten worse in recent years.
I was reminded of this ongoing challenge earlier this week when I watched a video of celebrity talk show host Ellen DeGeneres urging her fans to eat less meat for the planet, for our health and for the animals.
After watching the video and seeing the millions of likes and comments that she proceeded, I sat down and penned a letter on my blog, BEEF Daily (www.beefmagazine.com), to share the facts about beef and nutrition, cattle and climate and who we are in rural America.
The blog is too lengthy for this column, but here is an excerpt: “We can’t eat our way out of climate change. I promise, I care about the planet as much as you. I want a future where my children and grandchildren will have access to an abundance of natural resources, including clean air, fresh water and nutritious food. And I believe farmers and ranchers can be part of the solution to address our planet’s climate concerns.
“Ellen, I know you want to do good in this world, and so do I! If you truly want to promote planetary health and adequate nutrition for all, please urge your fans to focus on reducing food waste! Did you know that 40% of all the food brought home in American goes uneaten? This is enough to fill a 90,000-seat Rose Bowl stadium every single day!
“I invite you and Portia to visit our ranch in South Dakota! Better yet, this farm girl would love to come visit you in Los Angeles and share some agricultural stories on your TV show! Could you find room in your programming for this cattle woman to come sit in your seat on air? I would be very grateful for the opportunity!”
If you feel so inclined, I would love for you to check out my original blog post and give it a share. I’m not overly optimistic that Ellen will call me; however, the blog continues to make the rounds on social media, and my phone has been buzzing with media requests. So even if Hollywood wants to ignore my message, other outlets and their listeners/viewers are getting to hear my message. I’m incredibly grateful for these opportunities and will continue to advocate as long as I have a platform to do so.
Now, I need your help in joining me in sharing our positive agricultural stories. We must contin-ue this momentum to change public perception about who we are and what we do in animal agriculture.
This issue isn’t going away. In fact, if you listen to some of the Democratic hopefuls for the U.S. presidential election, you’ll notice a common theme — the majority have platforms to address climate change, and guess who they are directing their policies, regulations and tax in-creases on to attempt to curtail emissions? You guessed it — America’s farmers and ranchers.
If that’s not a wakeup call, I don’t know what is! Let’s rally together, folks, and get to work! We can no longer sit idle and let others do the talking for us! Do you agree? Email me your thoughts at email@example.com.