I think you, the livestock producers of southwest Missouri, know that we here at Ozarks Farm & Neighbor stand with the farmer when it comes to politics and policies that threaten our shared way of life. As many of you know, there have been rumblings of ballot initiatives in the state of Missouri, and this seems to be the year such an event will be taking place. We want to keep you informed and attuned to these important happenings, because they will affect our way of life. We can’t bury our head in the sand. We’re going to have to fight back.
These initiatives are usually sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and are propelled by high-dollar ad campaigns supposedly with the sole goal to end puppy mills. The pictures you see will sure be sad, and the stories of mistreated puppies will tear at your heartstrings, but know this: Other states have faced similar ballot initiative campaigns, and soon after their passage, in negotiations behind closed doors, certain practices in animal agriculture come under scrutiny and begin to be banned.
Be aware of these types of initiatives and stay informed. Read our Rumor Mill on page 2 about the stuff that’s going on and where you can learn more. Make sure you are treating your animals humanely. Humane treatment is important for two reasons. One, you know less-stressed, better-treated animals make better meat, wool and hair products. Two, with the increased scrutiny and the public eye focusing on agriculture, you don’t want to be caught doing something you know you shouldn’t be doing anyways.
Another way you can fight back? Support your local youth in agriculture. On page 41 we highlight some of the best youth in the state, the award winners in FFA’s proficiency and career development events. The only long-term solution to the problems of a misinformed public that’s being egged on by groups like PETA and the HSUS is a generation that believes in agriculture. The FFA is raising such a generation. So is the 4-H. A great example of 4-H shaping youth can be found in our Neighbor’s story on page 28 featuring the Shillings.
Also, don’t be afraid to use your voice in these times. I’ve told you before to speak up about these important issues, before it’s too late. Leta Dunlap wrote in this issue, with a great letter to the Editor telling the other side of the story. Think about what you do for your animals, and the care, time, energy and love you put into their care and well-being. Consider writing in to your local paper. It’s not time to be shy. It’s time to make sure the positive story of agriculture is told before our state becomes another line on the HSUS’s list of achievements in their battle to limit, regulate and ultimately end animal agriculture.
God Bless,


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