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Senior Contributor

Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

My daughter is a sophmore in highschool.  They just got back from National FFA convention last night.  Our FFA chapter lets the sophmores go to national convention and then any year after that they have to earn the trip.  Well, on the way back, both advisors were talking with my daughter that because of our unique operation (and largely because no one else does poultry in our state) that she could probably win a state proficiency next year if she wanted to go back to national convention.  Well, apparently, that wasn't the thing to say in front of a kid whose family owns one of the largest dairies in the area.   He preceeded to explain how free range and natural and organic and raising animals without chemicals is just a scam.  And that if our customers ever came out to see our operation how they would never buy from us.  And how we are cruel to our animals for having them outside and how our farm isn't neat and tidy all the time.  My wife and I got the same thing from a small percentage of people when we were still active in Farm Bureau.  It got my daughter very fired up but I think from her explination she did a very good job of holding her own.  She actually tried to explain to him that agriculture should be about farmers getting along and that we aren't trying to put them out of business that we are just making a living in a marketplace that has customers that want to pay us a premium for producing a product in a different manner.  It sure seems like it would make more sense for those 1 or 2% to buy from us rather than demand regulations and laws on the remainder.  I was very impressed with her.

The question I've got to ask is my daughter has never done anything to these people.  Why is it that a small percentage of farmers have to see my operation as the enemy rather than the cure for them to be able to keep doing what they are doing?  I can tell you all right now it is way more expensive to raise chickens, ducks, and turkeys on pasture.  It is way more expensive to raise a pig year round on pasture.  I'm not competing for the 98-99% of the marketplace that buys on price.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

Uniqueness and size of scope help a lot of SAEs. She has to get through district proficiency before having a chance at state. Will there be enough bias against your production methods to keep her from getting out of districts? That's the sad truth. I will also say that the advisor should have told her in private instead of in front of the class. What he may have thought as a chapter rallying point may have been seen by some as a threat. BTW, what is keeping the dairy student from competing in his area? They are still separate.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

Not a single thing keeping the student with a dairy operation from competing.  I'm sure he could go a long ways depending on the presentation of his proficiency application the same as my daughter.  In fact, that was the point I was trying to make and maybe didn't do a good job.  Why can't other people wish the best for everyone and why is it human nature to want to drag others down to make ones self feel better.  I'm sure the advisors didn't mean anything out of line nor do I think they said anything out of line.   My daughter has a chance to do big things in FFA.  That doesn't mean that others have to not do big things for her to do big things.  I'd love to see them all do big things.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

Hi Greg,

 

Well, good for her, I guess life comes at them at an early age whether we like it or not.

 

Ag these days feels like familiar ground to me- trying to be halfway reasonable in the midst of extreme polarization doesn't do anytihng but get you killed in the crossfire.

 

I think that some of the criticisms that are leveled at conventional animal agriculture are unfounded and say so when asked- but beyond that would somebody remind me why I'm supposed to be shilling for people with 10,000 sows? Like I've said before, if you have enough money to have 10,000 sows then you have enough money to hire your own lobbyists.

 

I really don't feel like a part of an "industry" that needs defended. Kinda interesting too, don't you think, that when we need sympathy we're "family farmers" and when we're trying to throw weight around about our economic importance we're an "industry."

 

BTW, I don't know how bright the young dairyman's parents are but they might want to have a talk with their son about not spouting the smack that he hears at home. Not unlike the USA in general, the 1% in agriculture shouldn't be taking the other 99% entirely for granted.

 

Best to you, and I'm sure your daughter is going to do great, regardless. h

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Senior Contributor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

Yes, a little bit of diplomacy would go a long ways.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

Don`t count on the FFA, Farm Bureau or any other outfit to embrace niche marketing. My Niman fellow producers have come to terms with that, they understand the 80/20 marketing rule. Niches focus on the 20% that provide 80% of their sales and *bleep* the rest. It`s funny how with all the misinformation the "pork industry" spreads, still natural foods are growing by leaps, it`s good to know not everyone`s taste buds are dead. Focus like a laser beam on that 20%.

 http://worldvillage.com/the-8020-rule-in-marketing

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Advisor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

Niman's checks were always  good, what else can we say. If it was a scam, the public would soon stop buying our product. I'm glad few farmers were in the program 'cause it helped to set apart our product. Otherwise it would just be commodity pork. If you've ever been to a whole foods store(my daughter in d.c. shops there all the time) or a chipotle (went to one in mankato sat. and a constant line of customers) one can see there is a ready market for thhese products. Walmart or mcdonalds is a completely different market.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

 Instead of expanding the number of proficiency areas, FFA has reduced them in the past couple of years due to decreased sponsorship dollars. Has anyone talked to Niman's or Whole Foods into sponsoring proficiency areas that represent their type of production?

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

Reminds me of the nat. Cattlemens comparison of corn feed beef and grass feed beef-----said the hamburger was 76% lean from both groups----given to a small group of men for a few weeks----hardly a time test at all??? my big ??? was who buy's 76 % ground beef and grass fed probably would be a lot leaner---not to argue a point about which is better but 76% lean is hard to find in any meat counter in our area of Nebraska--most is 80 or 85 and the grass fed should be much lower--why publish stuff like this???

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Senior Contributor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

I think that is a good idea for the FFA to pursue more sponsors but my daughter is going to win the poultry proficiency unless Mr. Tyson or Mr. Perdue have a son or daughter in the program the same year.  ROFLMAO  You ever checked how few of poultry integrators there are left in this country? 

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