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Corn+Soybean Digest

SDCGA president Bill Chase talks back to TIME Magazine

South Dakota Corn Growers Association President Bill Chase, Wolsey, SD, took a stand against TIME magazine's attack on our industry and our nation's safe food supply in a recent cover story. On stands now, the article is based on fallacies and outlandish misconceptions. Read Bill Chase's response below.

By Bill Chase:

To the TIME editors:

Have you ever been hungry?

I’m not talking about that hunger pang that happens between breakfast and lunch. I mean truly hungry, not able to either afford to eat or having food available for days on end. That’s an emptiness few of us in this country and readers of this publication have ever known. And it is that arrogant, entitleist and cavalier attitude that causes melodramatic writers like Bryan Walsh and others like him to misrepresent our nation’s food and food producers in a recent malicious article, “Getting real about the high price of cheap food” published in TIME magazine.

As a food producer from South Dakota, I am literally starving for the accurate truth – absent of sensational editorial bias – to be told about the humane and responsible manner livestock is raised in this country; the environmental advances food producers have made; and the safety and wholesomeness of our products.

Do you forget that producers are consumers too? We have to eat the same food we help produce and protect the land it is produced on. American farmers take pride in our work and just as every business in the United States, we embrace the advances that have allowed us to become more efficient and the least-cost producers of the safest products in the world.

Just as TIME magazine has an implied ethical obligation to present factual information to readers, as a producer, I have an ethical obligation to make sure the animals on my farm are well cared for. I would not be in business today if I didn’t provide my livestock with a safe, healthy environment in which to grow. I am committed to providing for the overall health and well being of my animals. I for one can sleep at night knowing I meet that obligation day in and day out. How are you doing with your ethical obligation TIME?

As for the ridiculous accusation that mainstream farming makes people fat, enough is enough! Call me “old-school” but at what point do we as consumers take responsibility for the choices we make about the food we eat? People are overweight because they eat too much. And then they want to pin the blame on someone else? I don’t force feed consumers with second and third helpings chased down by super sized beverages.

Don’t take food for granted because it is plentiful. Instead of attacking corn and livestock producers, why aren’t you asking food companies why the cost of food is still high despite the fact that corn prices have moderated to normal levels. According to a GAO report "prices farmers received-including for beef, pork, dairy and grains-increased 34% from Jan. 1982 to April 2009. For the same period, food prices rose 128% and prices in the general economy rose 102%.

It is indeed time to get real, and get the facts. And here’s a tip for TIME: When it comes to food, don’t talk with your mouth full.

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