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Letter to the Editor: Jennifer Stum

By Jennifer Stum

May 6, 2020


I know this is a scary time for some. We see so many conflicting news articles and it is hard to know what is true and what isn't. We see people wearing masks and we see people that aren't. We see people buying just what their family needs for a week and some panic buying. I am not here to get into a political or medical debate about what's right or wrong. I'm here today to say we are still here for you! And maybe, to give you my opinion as a farmer to the latest announcement that the next pandemic will be global starvation.

Right now we see news articles that we are headed for a famine. Then, we turn around and see that they are euthanizing pigs and dumping milk. REALLY! Which is it? Are we starving or do we have a surplus? The answer is both and neither. The demand for food hasn't actually changed, and the amount of food grown hasn't actually changed. There should be a balance, right? Again, the answer is never simple. The products that are being demanded has changed, compounded with panic buying it has caused a strain on supply. Then we add processors reducing production and some even closing their doors and we have compounded things even farther. The difficult thing is finding a balance of health for a few, health for the entire US, and the economy. I do not envy the person that gets to figure this out.

What my focus will be on is that production hasn't changed, processing has. Farmers are still planting crops. Here is a look out my back door. See all that nice, dark green? That's winter wheat. All those brown fields? Well, those are getting ready to be planted to fall crops such as millet, sorghum, sunflowers, or corn. And that other picture is what I was driving today to get fuel to the tractors so they could keep on planting.

fall crops on kiowa farm
agriculture in my rear view mirror

And, animal producers are the same way. Animals are still being born. Processors have bottlenecked the system and that's what's keeping food from getting to you. My brother just had this adorable litter of pigs born last week. While they are super cute at this stage, I promise they turn into big pigs that like to cause trouble but make amazing bacon. And the picture beside them is my sweet milk cow, Brownie. This picture was taken just before we bought her. She gives my family a gallon plus everyday and is raising her calf. She gives us more milk than my family uses on a daily basis.

black cow
baby pigs

The question is, now that we know the food is out there how do we get it? Government regulations make selling many of these products off the farm illegal. With my one milk cow I can't compete or justify jumping through all the hoops to be able to sell my milk. People like my parents, have jumped through said hoops to be able to sell their meat to you. It doesn't mean it's easy or the right option for every small farm, but it was for them. I encourage you to tell our representatives that you deserve the right to access your food at the source and not have to wait for it to get passed the bottleneck. Support your local farmers. They are taking a loss right now on most of their crops while you are paying a premium. Buy from the source, you pay less and they make more.

I can't help but think of the story of Joseph in this situation. Pharaoh was warned in a dream of a coming famine and was told there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Joseph was the man God intended to interpret this dream and to be put in charge of putting food away in the time of feast. I have to ask why, if a global famine is being predicted, why are we dumping our food? Why is more not being done to preserve it for use at a later time when it may be needed? The only answer I can come up with is, a government that controls the food source, controls the people. Think about that for just a minute. It is time that we stand up and say enough is enough and we want access to ALL food available not just what is put in the grocery store.

Here are some links to find your local farmer:

Farmers are still producing their animals and crops to continue to feed this country. I would be devastated to have to leave my little farm, and there are guys that farming is all they have ever known. If you ate, got dressed, or had a beer today, thank a farmer.

God Bless,

Jennifer Stum

CJ Milling, LLC

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