When I tell people my husband farms I am rarely met with disdain or insults. Most people are supportive and appreciative of the long hours and hard work my hubby and others work to put food on their plates. But then they follow with what they assume to be a supportive comment, “Oh, I always try to buy local.”
Buying local is great! There are thousands of farmers who rely on the local farmers’ markets or food cooperatives to move their goods. But we aren’t one of them. You won’t find us at the town square on Saturday mornings and we aren’t marketing our beef at the local grocery store. Yes, we do occassionally sell beef to family and friends and donate beef to use for non-profit events. But all of our income is a result of national and international markets.
We make your $40 steaks and toasted rolls at your white tablecloth, date night restaurant possible. It’s our soybeans that go into hog feed for your Saturday morning family bacon and eggs breakfast tradition at McDonalds and the milo that has allowed for the expansion of gluten-free products. We are proud international farmers that grow crops used around the globe and beef that is coveted by beef lovers on all continents. We aren’t a big, corporate farmers. Just a fourth-generation farming family hoping to see the fifth generation return to the land and follow in our footsteps.
It takes farms and farmers of all shapes and sizes to meet the always changing desires, demands and dishes found around the globe. Some chose to keep their products local. Others, like us, ship our products across the globe. It doesn’t mean we put any less time, energy or effort into raising those crops. It simply means our customers live a little farther away. That’s ok, as long as someone is enjoying the fruits of our labor.
So the next time you meet a farmer, remember, it’s not all local. Simply enjoying your next meal and understanding the time and energy it takes to get it from the pasture to your plate is support enough for this farm family.