Call me weird, strange or even crazy but I had just had a great time in the middle of Nebraska. Nebraska in the beginning of April is magical. I can say this because I just vacation there and do not have to do all the work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, but calving season and planting season is just beautiful. To see the gigantic pieces of machinery crossing thousands of acres of corn fields as the sun comes up, it is picturesque Americana. These farmers, that I had the pleasure of sharing coffee with in the mornings, are planting food that will not only feed their small town, but the world. The United States farmers supply a large amount of the worlds food supply. The demand for corn is growing as we produce ethanol and plant based plastics. The small town farmers with crow’s feet from squinting in the sun, scars and bags under their eyes from years of hard work, provide the world with the corn that it needs. To watch that and to be a part of it, even if it was just for a brief moment, was really amazing. I was able to teach my children about where their food comes from and the hard work that goes into the corn chips that they enjoy so much.
On the first day there we saw a baby calf being born. My family watched in awe as a new life entered the world. They asked a few questions but mostly they just watched. We watched as this new calf worked to stand and then walk for the first time. Later in the day when we returned to check on the calf we found out that the mother had delivered twins. Which in the cow world is kind of stressful, the momma cow claimed one of the calves and took care of it, but she was not too interested in the other one. We learned how the rancher tries to help the momma as well as the calves. There were times when we thought the calf was not going to make it, but the will to live, and stubbornness, pulled the calf through. Before we left town we went to the rancher’s barn and fed the calf by bottle. This rancher is going to invest hours feeding this calf.
I am going to rant for a moment please excuse me…I was a vegetarian for a couple of years as a teenager, I was young and naive what can I say, however some vegetarians believe that raising cattle for meat is barbaric. It is cruel and mean, I have even heard the term heartless… there is nothing heartless about the fight to save this calf’s life. There is nothing cruel about the 4 times a day this rancher, in rain, snow or shine, is going to go out and bottle feed this calf. It is true that this calf is being raised for meat, but I am proud to eat that meat. There is a lot of love and hard work behind that meat and I have respect for the farmer as well as the calf. The food that we get in the store comes in this nice wrapped package and there is complete disconnect from that hamburger at the drive through and the rancher who worked day and night to raise that meat. (I know there are animals that are treated badly, but that is a different rant all together, for the most part the animals are respected.)
Tonight when you eat your tacos with corn chips and ground beef, or your hamburger and French fries take a moment and think about all the hard work that went into that food. Instead of inhaling it, enjoy it, respect it. A lot of work went into bringing that food to your table.