'Agriculture on Defense"

The Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association had a meeting recently to discuss issues affecting the beef industry, and at the top of the agenda were proposed regulations that could negatively impact ranchers. It may surprise you where one rancher placed the blame for some of the legislation being proposed. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

"We have laws that are trying to be passed that will tax us per head, per cow, for gas that the cows pass. Years ago we would have laughed at that, and you said something, there’s a word that is misunderstood and it’s ignorance. Ignorance isn’t a bad word. It just means you’re not educated about certain things."

Joe Leathers is the general manager of Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie.

"This has to be an issue of what is truly proven, and what is theory or speculation. Is global warming true? I don’t know. I personally don’t think so. Have they proven it? I don’t believe they have. So should we radically get on board trying to correct a problem that we’re not sure really exists? I don’t think so. I think we need to be understanding the problem if there is a problem."

Leathers maintains that many political votes that adversely effect agriculture are cast without any understanding of agriculture.

"A lot of times if life don’t go the way you want, it’s because of choices and decisions you have personally made. So we as ranchers have been quiet too long, we haven’t educated people, we’ve stayed in our own little world and become hard headed and said, well that’s nobody else’s business. And it’s not, but if we’re going to stay in business it’s time to quit blaming everyone else, and put the blame on us because we haven’t been active in taking the offense. We’re always on the defense with the government."

And that, says Leathers, has to stop for domestic agriculture to survive.

"There’s gotta be a way to go on the offense. I’m tired of getting shot at in the bush. I ready to get up on a hill and start firing back."

I’m Joe Brown, tracing the journey our food makes from the farm and ranch to our plates, From The Ground Up.

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