On this Thoughtful Thursday, I am thinking back to yesterday when I participated in the Ag Exposure Day for the 4th and 5th graders in our town of Cozad. Every two years, a group of 30+ volunteers put together a “farm day” at Platte Valley Farms for our upper elementary students. Sisters Ann Smith and Judy Eggleston organize 150 students who spend four hours going to 9 different stations to learn about different facets of agriculture in Nebraska.
With the help of a Cozad high school student (the daughter of one of the ranchers that I purchase cattle from), I am in charge of the “Cattle Learning” station which consists of giving a 15 minute presentation about cattle and beef to nine different groups of 15 students.
As I take the students through the life of a calf, why it is raised, why we eat beef, and how to offer basic care to a food animal; I field a variety of questions. While I find each one of the students’ questions interesting, there was one yesterday that gave me pause.
A 5th grade boy asked:
How can you get the meat off of the calf without killing it?
You can’t. The animal gives it’s life in order to provide us with nutritious food.
My answer was met with a new level of understanding and a quiet nod. I do not think that this young man will ever look at a hamburger the same way again.
As the students completed the last station and filed off to the nearby field to enjoy a hamburger lunch, I continued to think about this question — baffled that a 10 year old boy would think that meat would be harvested off of a calf without the calf dying.
How has our society become so far removed from food production?
and perhaps more importantly…
How are we going to fix this?
Today, I charge each of you with the task of helping to educate others about where their beef comes from — whether it is your own child, or the person next to you in the grocery store line — take the personal responsibility to ensure that beef production is properly understood.
Farmers dedicate their lives to raising safe and nutritious beef
– animals give their lives so that we can nourish our families –
Shouldn’t each one of us take the time to properly appreciate the sacrifices that occur so that we do not go hungry?