Where’s the bread?
By Trent Loos
I have just completed an intense yet productive week traveling to Albuquerque, N.M., for the Ag Media Summit, Redwood Falls, Minn., for Farm Fest and Fort Smith, Ark., for the Arkansas Cattlemen’s annual meeting.
I find it somewhat amusing that I am always asked what I am going to speak about. I always reply that I don’t know because it hasn’t happened yet. I have found that if you show up early enough and you are good listener, you will know what to say and something will happen to help you out.
On the last day in Fort Smith, I was scheduled to speak at the noon meal, which was a buffet line full of brisket, beans, cheesy potatoes and a cobbler. The very first person to go through the line was Franklin County cattlemen Bernie Freeman. Bernie got to the end of the line and said, “Where’s the bread?” The young ladies that were overseeing the line initially just stood there looking at him like he was just being funny.
After about the sixth time of Bernie still standing there at the end of the line saying, “Where’s the bread?” they decided they had to tell him there was no bread. Bernie sat down at my table right near the buffet line as the people were now streaming through. He had still not started eating because he didn’t have any bread and then he proceeded to tell everybody in the line to ask the girls at the end, “Where’s the bread?”
Within about 10 minutes of hearing this repeated mantra, “Where’s the bread?” the young ladies decided they were going to have to get some bread. Shortly thereafter, they walked over to Bernie, bread in hand, and finally gave the man what he’d been asking for.
The last 100 people, who were not in line at the time this all began, walked through the line and found bread waiting for them at the end. They didn’t know any of this had even taken place. The truth of the matter is that if one guy had not made his dislike for the situation known, no one would have gotten bread.
Quite honestly is this any different than the current situation we are in with folks who don’t know what we do on the farm in order to ensure that they have food, fiber, pharmaceuticals and fuel?
No, it is not. In fact, most people tell each other how bad it is when our fellow countrymen don’t know about today’s food system yet they aren’t telling the right people. They don’t continue to say what needs to be heard. Most of the people who went through that food line would not have wanted “to cause a scene” because that is what we are told is politically correct. But once again we find a perfect illustration of a situation in which one person, following through with his own convictions, finds a way to improve the situation for everyone involved.
I can take this story even one step further. Not only are we not telling everybody who will listen, “Where’s the bread?” we are also allowing too many people to say that bread is bad for us. I am betting that there are lots of folks who got through the line early and thought, “hmmm, no bread. Well, my wife will be happy I didn’t eat bread.” There is nothing wrong with bread because healthy living is all about eating a variety of things in moderation and exercising more than you eat. It is not about completely eliminating this food or that food or every food from this food group.
Now we even have elite bread makers chiming in with the non-bread crowd suggesting that we control who and how we make the bread. When you allow the oldest wartime strategy known to man, divide and conquer, to be implemented without shouting, “Where’s the bread?” pretty soon there is no bread to be had at any cost.
Wise up, all. We are in a world where the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and I doubt that I need to tell anyone in agriculture what happens when a wheel goes too long without grease. Don’t let the business of agriculture be without grease any longer. Speak up or shout at the top of your lungs and just like Bernie Freeman, you may just get what you want.
Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or email Trent at email@example.com.
Bread Making with Bill & Sheila
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