altBeer doesn’t exist without farmers, so they are our most important partners,” Ricardo Marques, vice president of marketing core and value brands at Anheuser-Busch, stated in a recent press release from the company’s Farm Rescue campaign, which helps farm families in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and Iowa.

I found it refreshing, pun intended, that a corporation sees the role farmers play in the production of their product. No farmers, no hops, no beer, no Anheuser-Busch.

Farmers and ranchers tend to be the “silent partners” in many industries, but what if there were no more farmers or ranchers? What would be missing? Here are a few of the highlights:

Jeans – Yes, without farmers there would be no jeans, which is pretty much a wardrobe staple of everyone I know. Jeans, as well as many other clothing items, are made from cotton. Cotton fibers are also used in the production of paper currency. If there are no farmers or ranchers, there will be no one to tend to sheep flocks, so wool would be out of the picture as well. We would all be forced to wear polyester, which is coal and petroleum-based fabric. I for one refuse to go back to the 1970s.

Soaps, hair products and cosmetics – Vegans hate this one. Soap, lotions, makeup and lipstick often contain fatty acid from livestock. Some also contain lanolin, which comes from the sheep and wool industry. There are also many products that contain plant-based products, so farmers are needed to keep things nice and clean.

Medications – Thanks to livestock production, there have been many medical advances. Thousands of insulin-dependent diabetics would not be here if it weren’t for swine and bovine insulin from the pancreases of cows and pigs. Researchers have experimented with ways of harvesting insulin-producing islet cells from pigs and transplanting them into diabetics in hopes of reducing the need for daily insulin shots and even replacing them with twice-yearly islet-cell treatments.

Plastics – From trash bags to drinking straws, there is a tie to agriculture. Many plastics contain chemicals often referred to as “slip agents,” which are derived from the stearic acid in animal fat. Bioplastics are made from sugarcane, wheat and corn. There isn’t a day that passes without the use of plastic.

Food – We cannot forget the phrase, “no farms, no food.” If you eat, you are connected to agriculture. There would be no more going to the corner market to grab a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. It has been suggested by some scholars that our society would revert back to being hunters-gathers to scratch out an existence. Hunter-gatherers, however, eventually became farmers. Domesticated crops are said to have “tamed” early man.

To sum it up, without our farmers, the human race would be naked, dirty, hungry, ill and sober.

I often wonder if those who are anti-agriculture understand the positive impact farmers and ranchers have on the world today. Agriculture opponents are quick to blame everything from cancer to water pollution on farmers, but ignore the good that comes from agricultural industries – like food and clothing.

When someone says they don’t feel a connection with agriculture, just remind them of all of the things they have because of the industry, giving them a little food for thought.

Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected].


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