August 27, 2009

Nebraska farmers respond to Time article

Nebraska farmers Greg and Maru Whitmore sent a note this week to Time magazine editor Richard Stengel. The Whitmore's decided enough was enough when they read the Time article "Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food" (it was originally titled "America's Food Crisis and How to Fix It").

You can read more about the article in the post Time (magazine) is not on your side.

The response from Greg and Maru Whitmore, in its entirety, is below.

If you would like to tell Time what you think just email

Mr. Richard Stengel
Time Magazine Editor

Mr. Stengel:

Our family has been farming for more than three generations in Shelby, NE. Just as any other industry, the technology used in our production process is continuously updated. Our company's motto is Innovation, Leadership, Stewardship. Everyday we are in contact with nature, we know how delicate the balance of the ecosystems that aid on our production system are. It is in our best interest to respect Mother Nature the way she requires us to. This is why one of our most important missions in our farming is to be responsible with the Stewardship of the land we feel privileged to work on.

In our farming practices, we use something called Precision Agriculture the writer of your article does not seem familiar with. This systems consists of GPS locator systems along with computers in our tractors and other equipment that will apply a "prescription" of any given substance necessary in our soils (based on grid sampled soil tests) so that we can continue to reestablish the equilibrium of the ecosystem in a specific field.

The no-till practices, the continued research our grower organizations conduct, support serious scientists in different Universities to protect our fields and transition to the least to farming practices that least alter ecosystems. The manure mentioned in your article is really an organic fertilizer that we have the privilege to apply to our fields with the systems I have mentioned. To us, it is the potential richness our soils can be provided with as opposed to how "city people" see it as "waste" and smell.

In our farms we do not only grow food we also grow the ink you use to print your magazine, diapers, biodegradable plastic ware and utensils, fabrics like bio cool-max, soy silk, raw materials for salad dressings, candy, and any other product you purchase in a supermarket.

As you can see from the few considerations I have expressed, there are many aspects of farming that are very advanced, require knowledge, and I have not even begun to mention the financial investment required to run a farming business like ours, or those of our neighbors nor have I mentioned any of the advanced farm marketing knowledge needed to be successful in an extremely volatile market.

With less people in the world willing to be farmers the operations need to be bigger in order to be efficient and successful. Less than 1% of the U.S. population are producing the food the U.S and the world need. Years ago many more households grew their own food. The driving force of the production in an economies of scale system is the consumer because we always want cheaper food.

Sincerely yours, growing everything the world needs to survive.

Greg and Maru Whitmore
Shelby, NE.

1 comment:

  1. My hat goes off to all farmers…everywhere. Without you tireless efforts all of us would go hungry. I would like to comment that once huge corporations take over the farms…and they have, the bottom line isn’t about farming it’s about profit…stock holders…return on investment. I’m not saying businesses shouldn’t make a profit or be successful, I’m just saying that large corporations aren’t the farmers of times past. Large corporations will lobby their politicians to insist we use food grains to manufacture ethanol…even when we know it isn’t the best use of food crops or the land used to grow food crops. But the bottom line is you have to make a living. I would hope that the farmers that still own and work their land will be able to survive the onslaught of corporate greed.