As a high school girl my favorite author wasn’t the typical Stephanie Myer or J.K. Rowling, although Rowling is pretty great. My favorite author was Trent Loos. If I were guessing most of you have probably never heard of him but if you know me then you definitely won’t be surprised when I say that he is an Ag Journalist. Loos combined two of my favorite things: reading and agriculture. I would scavenge the mail for the most recent High Plains Journal just to read that weeks’ “Loos Tales” (as of this week I’m probably about year and a half behind).
Anyways, my senior year I took two gilts to the Fall Classic pig sale in Duncan, Oklahoma. My dad and I were sitting in the stands watching the sift when a man in a big black felt cowboy hat sets down right beside me. Of course it is none other than Mr. Loos himself. I was ecstatic. One of the greatest agriculture advocates in my time was setting right next to me, and me, being the socialite that I am, I just HAD to talk to him! I introduced myself and we spent the next couple of minutes talking about the current ag issues our industry was facing as we ran through ideas for the speech I was getting ready to write. I learned that Trent had come all the way from Nebraska to put his Spot pigs in the sale right here in Oklahoma and just how passionate he was for the agriculture industry. However, the most important thing that I learned from our conversation was what he left unspoken. Trent is just a sixth generation farmer who saw a need in our society and decided to do something about it. How is that not inspiring?
What brought all of this up? Well, I attended a lecture last night over the lack of research being done in the beef industry. Dr. Cross of Texas A&M showed statistics that just blew my mind. Ranchers are leaving billions of dollars on the table because of the lack of research and new technological ways to combat age old problems. He further explained that we, as farmers and ranchers, are going to have to increase production by as much as 100 percent over the next few decades to meet the demands of the growing population. Since the chances of us increasing the amount of land available for agriculture is highly unlikely the only way we can do this is through technological advancement. But, this means that we have to get consumers on board with technology. They have to be educated and truly understand the methods of modern agriculture before all of us can gain the benefits of such research.
As the daughter and granddaughter of two esteemed cattlemen and as a person who is pursuing a career in cattle research and production I know the costs of producing beef. I know the fiscal costs and even more the costs that are beyond fiscal, costs that are back-breaking, emotional costs. I have seen it first-hand. Yet, even I was shocked to hear that without the technological advancements we have today it would cost another $524 per head to get a market animal to slaughter. Can you imagine what the prices at the grocery store would be? This is the kind of thing that we, as agriculturist and future agriculturist need to share with American consumers, consumers that are, on the average, four generations or more removed from the farm. This is the very thing Trent aims to do and that is thing I admire most about him. We could all stand to be a little bit more like Trent.
Trent has a radio show that airs on over 100 stations you can check that out here: http://www.facesofag.com/
Trent also has a weekly article in the High Plains Journal check that out here: http://www.hpj.com/journal/columns/index_columnists2.cfm?thisEdit=8#.VF2mu_nF-So