Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2007

Farmer responds

April 26, 2007


To the editor:

I am writing in response to the front page article in Sunday's paper regarding "10 ways to save the earth." Nine of the suggestions make sense. However, I take issue with No. 8, suggesting to eat less meat.

It cites a United Nations report stating that the meat industry is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse emissions. It basically points the finger at manure and methane gases. It then goes on to point out the fact that meat requires fertilizers and pesticides to grow "animal food."

As far as I can tell, it looks like they are trying to say that production agriculture in general is bad for the environment. By including things like this on your front page, you simply add to the growing ignorance that the general public seems to have about agriculture these days.

American farmers produce a safe and abundant food supply for this country as well as others. As far as saving the earth goes, we are the original environmentalists. We are good stewards of the land, because it isn't much good once it gets covered up with houses and parking lots.

With that said, please take a closer look at the impact of what you print on the front page. I would suggest for tip No. 11, never cuss a farmer with your mouth full.

Luke Ulrich,

Baldwin City


paladin 11 years, 1 month ago

Good letter there, Luke. Say, meat me at the cafe round noontime an I'll buy ya dinner. The comments above, on tother hand, ain't nothin but hogwash.

Ragingbear 11 years, 1 month ago

tooooofuuuuu..... I mean... MEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!

Ragingbear 11 years, 1 month ago

It's just the radical vegetarian/vegan community that will stop at no level to try to force us all to stop eating meat. Lies are their first line of offense. Many of them will move on to terrorist activities such as deliberately contaminating our meat supply. They are not below anything, not even terrorist acts. What makes you think that lying is below them?

Richard Heckler 11 years, 1 month ago

"It then goes on to point out the fact that meat requires fertilizers and pesticides to grow "animal food." " For corporate farms that has been the choice. Although it is not necessary if going organic and/or if using fast growing pasture grasses. It takes a lot of water per animal.

Animal products are great sources for cholesterol so would not hurt to cut back. Exercising more and eating foods that break down bad cholesterol is not a useless idea.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 1 month ago

"However, I take issue with No. 8, suggesting to eat less meat."

If so, then why don't you do so with a few facts to support your "issue."

The livestock/meat industries, are, in fact, ecological and economic disasters.

That doesn't mean everyone has to become a vegetarian, or that farmers and ranchers need to quit raising livestock. It just means that producers and consumers need to look better ways of both producing and consuming meat, and that almost certainly includes consuming less of it.

SettingTheRecordStraight 11 years, 1 month ago

Way to go Luke. You're like me, we love animals because they're so delicious.

oldvet 11 years, 1 month ago

Quit picking on vegetarians!!! Many of the things I eat used to be vegetarians!!!

jonas 11 years, 1 month ago

"Posted by right_thinker (anonymous) on April 26, 2007 at 4:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Luke, I feel your pain."

Right. Sure you do.

Janet Lowther 11 years, 1 month ago

Some of the practices in industrial animal husbandry are pretty nasty. Gigantic feedlots being a prime example.

On the other hand, there are vast tracts of land where the only responsible way to create food for humans is to have four-stomached critters eat the grasses and forbes which grow there and then have people eat the critters.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 1 month ago

"It then goes on to point out the fact that meat requires fertilizers and pesticides to grow "animal food."

So who here believes that just growing crops for human consumption doesn't require using fertilizers and pesticides?

I've got some swampland for sale somewhere...

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 1 month ago

It is a fact that meat production is the least efficient agricultural method (lowest caloric return per caloric/energy investment). Mammalian digestive systems just aren't very efficient.

However, sustainable practices, where the manure is reused and those lost calories captured, lessen the loss.

We are omnivores, and meat is a vital part of our diet (and delicious, too). However, we will need to think about sustainable and more efficient means of meat production than often happen now.

An example is corn feeding. It is inefficient, it sickens cattle, and requires antibiotic use. Let cows eat grass, ferrchrissakes.

preebo 11 years, 1 month ago


I believe that for the first time I am in complete agreement with your postings.

...this reminds me of that carnival game with the ducks going back and forth getting knocked down with the shot of the air gun. I guess in this analogy the Carnival is the LJ World, RagingBear and Right Thinker are the tin ducks and your quips would be the air gun.

Good Show.

Mkh 11 years, 1 month ago

While I can understand Mr. Ulrich's frustrations when he perceives that people don't appreciate the hard work he and other farmers do, I really think he letting his personal emotions get in the way of the facts.

Convential farming in general is not good for the enviroment (yes there are things that are worse), the "Green Revolution" was disasterous for the fresh ground/river water supply among other things. However we know now that there a several organic farming practices available that have a low enviromental impact.

Overall I don't think there is much to debate about the meat issue, the stats speak for themselves.

cowboy 11 years, 1 month ago

maybe some of you experts should have joined 4-H instead of smoking pot over at veterans park everyday , you might have learned something about farming. Your responses display your ignorance.

J Good Good 11 years, 1 month ago

Honestly, how defensive people get. Family farmers are a great asset and deserve more kudos and support than they get. They are much better stewards of the land than factory farms.

Most Americans eat more meat than is good for them, and raising animals causes more pollution and uses more natural resources, particularly water, than raising crops. Large scale crop farming requires chemicals too, but not on the same scale. They are finding antibiotics and artificial hormones in water supplies downstream from large scale animal operations. These are facts that are pretty easy to verify.

"Eating less meat" as a suggestion is not an attack on anyone. It does not mean convert to vegetarianism or perish. Your average meat and potatos person could do a vegetarian meal once or twice a week, and probably not die or anything. Maybe even lower their cholesterol.

And you can support local family farms at the same time, by trying to buy local, asking your store where your meat and produce is coming from, or (even better) shop at the farmers market.

Ragingbear 11 years, 1 month ago


~Cultivation of soya yields 356 pounds of protein per acre, rice yields 265 pounds of protein per acre, corn yields 211 pounds of protein per acre, and legumes yield 192 pounds of protein per acre. In contrast, milk production yields only 82 pounds of protein per acre, egg production yields only 78 pounds of protein per acre, and meat production yields only 45 pounds of protein per acre with beef being the most wasteful at only 20 pounds of protein per acre.~~

That may be true. But you forgot some really important facts. It taste like a cross between Styrofoam and a a pencil eraser, has the consistency of dog doo, and I have seen many people prefer to go hungry than eat it.

jdgreen 11 years, 1 month ago

I'm the farmer who wrote the letter. My brother and I are young farmers. We started almost from scratch (maybe youv'e seen our add in the trading post looking for rental ground) after hard times reduced the a fifth generation family farm to a weekend operation. We encounter increasing input costs and competion for rental land as well as other huge challenges. We stick it out because is's a way of life that is extremely dear to us. I believe in sustainable agriculture. Believe me, if you saw our fuel and fertilizer bill, you would see that we don't exactly like having to use the stuff that much either. The fact is, fewer kids are returning to the business. One farmer has to feed alot more people than he used to. This means fertilizer. I'm scared to death of a future that has us depending on other countries for our food supply. Trust me, we love this land as much as you do, and we do try to employ methods that promote soil, nutrient, and fuel conservation. I did'nt view the tip#8 as an attack. I saw it as a brief, ignorant and open ended statement among other useful tips. It's just the right thing to get the wrong people's wheels turning. As hard as I work for this way of life, I don't have much tolerance for these kind of statements. I might add that the Journal World has a yearly section that showcases area farmers conservation efforts. We do want to be good neighbors and stewards of the land. Thank you for all comments. Sincerely, Luke Ulrich, Ulrich Brothers Farms Baldwin City, KS

Staci Dark Simpson 11 years, 1 month ago

Go Luke go. I remember you from high school you are a good guy. Don't let these people get ya down.

C'mon guys, without farmers none of y'all would eat. Meat is not the enemy, just the overconsumption of it. Then again my great granny had bacon and sausage everyday and lived to be in her 90's.

I love all animals, some with a side of taters.

Staci Dark Simpson 11 years, 1 month ago

Scene- Lots of stores now sell antibiotic and chemical free meat. It is a little more per lb but I think well worth the cost. I do think the antibiotics in our meat are adding to our resistance to antibiotics. But hey I am not against veggiesauruses. Its your right to choose, but meat won't hurt you if you are sensible about it.

Ragingbear 11 years, 1 month ago

I would like to point out that most Americans eat too much meat. Typically, we only need a few ounces a day. Instead we tend to eat a few ounces per meal. Then we run around wondering why Americans are so fat.

I would also like to address the comment that my statement about the taste of tofu. I challenge all of you to say that they don't know what a pencil eraser taste like. It was common to see people gnawing on them in schools. I know I did it many times. You don't have to actually eat something to know what it taste like.

And I remember when I was very young I sampled styrofoam at least once. Then there are the "snowman turds" more commonly used in packing these days because they melt in water and are comprised of organic material. I ate a few of those on a teenage dare (And made myself a sweet $20 from it too.). They pretty much taste the same as their non-biodegradable counterpart.

Notice how nobody challenged the statement that tofu had the feel of dog dookie.

Ragingbear 11 years, 1 month ago

Oh. So your one of those people that let your dog crap on Mass street and just leave it there for people to step in? That actually explains alot.

jdgreen 11 years, 1 month ago

I just gotta say, this is about as entertaining of a response as I could have possibly imagined. Quite the introduction to the JW website as well. I don't spend much time on the computer, but my wife clued me in that people were responding to my letter. I truly do appreciate all input. From producer to consumer, we really do need each other.

blackwalnut 11 years, 1 month ago

A huge percentage of the world's methane production comes from confined feeding operations.

KsTwister 11 years, 1 month ago

As well as old men, hard boiled eggs and beer in one combination that blame it on cows.

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