Farmers fight back against unfair attacks

Media tour shows kinder, gentler side of agriculture

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian) comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on July 5, 2014

Hold it for a minute. Farmers are getting a bad rap these days. The recent flood of comment against deep-water wells and pesticide spraying is painting an unflattering picture of farmers as greedy abusers of the land. The P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture is so concerned that it helped organize a media tour of farm operations around the province to allow members of the press to see for themselves what is happening on the family farm and tell

other Islanders about the kinder, gentler side of farming.

Farmers are much more concerned than their urban neighbours in safeguarding the land as a legacy for future generations. They are reluctant to apply pesticides and only do so as a last resort in order to protect their crops and investments. More and more, farmers are using the latest technology to operate more efficiently. Farmers are already heavily regulated in each and every thing they do — how many acres they can own, where they can cultivate, what they can plant and how often they must rotate their crops.

It just takes one or two hot button issues like water and spraying to paint an unfortunate, negative picture of the entire industry. Let’s not forget that farmers are our friends and neighbours who chair rink boards, serve as elders in our churches etc. and remain the cornerstone of rural P.E.I. Most importantly, they are producers of the fresh and safe food we consume each and every day.

It's amazing how few Islanders are aware where their food comes from and how it’s produced. We walk into a store or supermarket and there it is — all cheaply priced, neatly packaged and garden fresh.

Do we care how much time, money and labour were invested in that product?  Yet, we still expect that cheap and plentiful food supply to keep appearing, as if by magic.

Weekend thoughts

At first glance, the heading on a Guardian sports story this week looked incongruous: ‘Chicago deal gives Richards shot at Cup.’ And playing in New York didn’t, after the Rangers lost in the Stanley Cup final? Richards made out OK in his free-agent contract and compliance buyout, both executed by the Rangers. The Rangers made a business decision by buying out the last six years of Richards’ nine-year, $60-million contract. Overall, he will make $51 million in salary earned and deferred over the next 12 years. So money wasn’t a huge consideration, but winning a Stanley Cup, and rehabilitating his career, were.

Raise your glass. Few of us needed much of an excuse to drink a cold, frosty beer over the past week in these hot, humid weather conditions. Now we have an affirmation for our choice of beverage. The Care2 Healthy Living Inc. lists five healthy reasons to drink beer, which comes with some surprising health perks. When consumed in daily moderation (one 12-ounce serving for women; two 12-ounce servings for men), beer can be a boon to your health. It is a good source of micronutrients, helps build a stronger skeleton, helps prevent blood clots, lowers heart disease risk and lowers kidney stone risk. Hurrah for the humble brewski. Sláinte mhaith!

The story of some hens living in penthouse luxury in Freetown has ruffled some feathers in other chicken coops across the province. A poultry farm operated by the Burns family has installed the latest housing cages for their hens. For the bashful Rhode Island Red, there is a private, curtained-off area for laying eggs, while the leggy White Leghorn gets a scratching board to keep those

pointed nails in perfect conformity. Alas for the Plymouth Rock which is heading for the kitchen crock-pot.