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From the Ground Up: Lessons from 2020 on fortune, fragility of the food chain

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 10:45 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -

The past year in a half has tested us on many levels. Tests on resilience, adaptability, patience, and the ability to keep ourselves fed.

“If we want to see a real panic in this country, COVID demonstrated what it would look like,” says Texas A&M Livestock Specialist Ron Gill. “When store shelves started getting a little bare. we acted like a bunch of.... heathens to be honest.”

Gill says he would rather not re-live spring of 2020, but he says there’s a crucial lesson to be learned from that time.

“That was a great snapshot of what would happen if we became food insecure in this country. It changed everything, in a week, it changed everything.”

Gill says it was a good reminder of what others have to deal with on a daily basis.

“[A] young man that’s married to my niece, he’s from Latvia. He and his mother got to come over one time. The first place she wanted to go see was a grocery store. She thought that was one they took tourists to just to show them the abundance of food. They wound up taking her to five grocery stores before she believed that all our grocery shelves were full all the time.”

Gill says in many ways, we’ve gotten so good at feeding ourselves, we take it for granted. And what was already a small group of people in Ag, is getting smaller.

“We’re going to robots to milk cows... tractors that drive themselves, we’re going to need less people on the farm... so if we do that we’re running the risk of not communicating, not having anyone that can voice their concern or state our position.”

It can start with just appreciation of the plenty many of us enjoy.

“Even changing knowledge can be a good measure of success. It’s not always economics.”

So the next time you’re gathered around for your next summer barbecue, think about the hands and the work of the few that went into feeding all.

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