Monday, November 23, 2009

Producing Affordable Food is Key

November 21st, 2009 07:32am
Who can afford $7.50 a pound for turkey?
by Inside.Opinion

Food for thought: I got a call on Friday from Arnie Riebli, a fourth-generation Sonoma County farmer and co-owner of Petaluma-based Sunrise Farms, one of the top egg producers in the state. We talked about the front-page story about the Thode family raising heritage turkeys on their Sebastopol ranch.

“I know I’m not objective about the whole thing,” he said. “But I read the news media every day. Animal agriculture is under attack. And then I read about . . . 70 turkeys selling for $7.50 a pound and in other parts of the country people are going hungry.”

His question: Are we being realistic about our expectations of food production and what people can afford?

It’s a fair concern. At $7.50 a pound, a 15-pound turkey is going to cost $112.50. Who has that kind of money? A Safeway ad this week was offering turkeys for 88 cents a pound.

Riebli doesn’t raise turkeys, and he said he has nothing against a family that wants to raise heritage turkeys as a hobby. He just gets concerned when people see stories like this as a solution to society’s food needs. Read More

As we head into Thanksgiving this week, I am certainly grateful that my family doesn’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from. It’s not because we are extremely wealthy, it’s because America’s family farmers and ranchers are producing the safest, most affordable, most abundant food supply in the history of the planet. It’s unfortunate though that this very food supply is under attack by elitists who are pushing to make it less affordable. There is no doubt that our family wouldn’t be enjoying our Thanksgiving turkey if it cost more than $100. I have absolutely no problems with those that are raising this more expensive food. If it’s a model that works for them and they are filling a demand that is there, then that’s great. I just don’t want people to think these type of systems are the way we will feed an ever growing planet.

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