One of the blessings each of us on the AMTS team can count is the phenomenal group of people we get to work with every day. Daily, we talk to nutritionists, researchers, and scientists around the world who are in the business of ensuring as many people as possible have food to eat each night. Our company cadre includes a number of us who either raise or hunt meat for our families, who gather for the celebration of American Thanksgiving every year on the fourth Thursday of November. Whether we are roasting or deep frying our turkeys, trying something else–Duck!, or gathering with a couple dozen family members, we are profoundly grateful to be part of an industry and tradition that nurtures our bodies, minds, and world. Caroline Rasmussen, our CFO, passed this on to the AMTS Team this morning.
“Recently, I was out to dinner with a group of friends. Looking at the brimming plates in front of us, I mentioned a statistic that I had read earlier in the day: “only 12 cents of every dollar spent on the Thanksgiving meal goes to farmers”. One of my friends quipped that most of the 12 cents probably goes to “corporate” farms. I was struck by the juxtaposition between my friend’s lack of knowledge and pejorative attitude toward food production and the bounty of food in front of us. Seeing the look on my face, my friend quickly apologized.
On reflection, I think that the 12 cent statistic and most people’s lack of knowledge of agriculture are testimonial to the incredible reliability and efficiency of modern farms and the entire food industry. Before the mid 1800’s, famine was part of the human experience. But since earliest agriculture, farmers have been quick to implement scientific discoveries and devise new technologies. Plant and animal genetics, the Haber-Bosch process of nitrogen fertilizer production, soil conservation, innovative machinery, irrigation, etc. have dramatically increased animal and plant yields.
Modern food preservation and transportation insures that food gets to our dinner plates cheaper than ever before. In the U.S., in 1901, 1 hour of work purchased 3 quarts of milk; in 2001, 1 hour of work purchased 16 quarts of milk1. In modern times, famine is the result of war and bad governance instead of crop failure. Not just farmers, (the frontline of agriculture), but all of the scientists, extension agents, veterinarians, consultants, and skilled people working in the animal health and crop production industries have a hand in bringing your Thanksgiving bounty to you. Let’s be thankful for all of them (all of us?). Maybe even a gentle, polite reminder to those around the table that food does not originate in the grocery store is permissible.
Happy Thanksgiving from the AMTS Family.
1 Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now. 2018.”
Thank you, Caroline, for the well stated message.