altFarmers and ranchers get the short end of the stick most of the time and just can’t get a fair shake.

The biggest adversary to farmers and ranchers lately seems to be Mother Nature. She took her frustration out on our neighbors to the north last month with her “bomb cyclone” that caused blinding blizzards, freezing and flooding all at the same time, killing livestock, destroying crop and pastureland, sweeping away barns and homes, shattering lives. Network news TV crews showed up for a day or two in the wake of the disaster, but they are all gone to follow the next “big story,” but farm and ranch families are still trying to pick up the pieces, praying the spring rains will not flood them out again.

Winter has been tough here in the Ozarks as well. Short hay supplies after last year’s drought caused many folks to reduce their herds. When the rains finally did come, they were brutal, cold and smack dab in the middle of calving season for many. Then there was the mud, mud that never seemed to dry up.

Thankfully, spring has arrived, bringing warmer temperatures and brighter skies, but many people are nervously awaiting what might happen next.

Unfortunately, many consumers will never step foot on a farm. They will never see the long hours, the heartbreak or the joy involved in being a farmer or rancher.

The average American today doesn’t know where their food comes from or the ties their lives have to agriculture. Anti-agriculture groups seem to pour out of the woodwork when something goes amiss and blame farmers and ranchers for everything that is wrong in the world. Flatulence from cows is eating a hole in the Ozone and “factory farms” are contaminating water sources around the nation.

We will never change the minds of most of the anti-agriculture extremists, but we can try to inform and educate those who are willing to listen, but getting the message out can be difficult when people tend to be glued to their electronic devices. Farmers and ranchers may be getting a little help, however, from an unlikely source.

There’s is a new docu-series airing on a national network that’s promoting itself as having no agenda, other than to show the lives of farmers and ranchers. “American Farmer” hit the air recently and I hope its non-agenda claim is true, but I can’t help but think it won’t take long for anti-agriculture groups to begin crying foul. The trailer for the series shows two men pulling a calf, so I’m shocked animal rights organizations haven’t started spewing their propaganda to call for the boycott of the show, the network it airs on and all of the advertisers.

The series, which was filmed in 2018, is slated to tell the stories of five farm families for a year and is promoted as being non-scripted. Promotional material is also calling America’s farmers “heroes who gamble every last dollar on their own two hands, who wage war every day against an unrelenting assault from Mother Nature and who toil on dangerous machines for backbreaking 20-plus hour shifts.”

As the readers of Ozarks Farm & Neighbor know, farming and ranching isn’t like it’s portrayed on “Green Acres” or “The Ranch,” and no matter how much I love the show, it’s not “Yellowstone” either. These are just Hollywood versions of what television and movie producers want farming and ranching to be like, and frankly, they need to get a few new technical consultants for some of these shows.

“American Farmer” may be a hit or it may be a bust, but I hope it gives at least a few people a look at the families busting their humps each and every day to provide for their families, as well as feed families around the world.

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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