Some of you reading this article will remember how neighbors would coordinate the scheduling of hog killings, corn suckings, wood cuttings and tobacco barning.
Neighbors scheduled these kinds of work events because they would “swap” their labor to more efficiently harvest and sell their crops or to prepare their food for the winter months.
In days past, labor was the most important capital many families had that could be used and or traded to produce the necessities of life.
Some will remember the day of the week when they would barn their tobacco. Others will remember their first job being on a farm.
Many, both urban and rural, will remember working on a farm during the summer months to earn money to buy their school clothes for another year.
By the way, there was a time when wearing torn or ragged blue jeans to school would have been the cause of much embarrassment. Now the ragged ones cost the most money.
Many will remember the delicious meals of fresh sausage or tenderloin chunks mixed in fresh cooked rice covered with brown gravy. Some may have used their finger to punch a hole in a freshly baked biscuit and pouring a hefty serving of Grandma’s molasses into the biscuit.
Still sounds very good, doesn’t it?
Thus we easily see that in times past rural folks and urban folks could make a direct connection between their own labor and the food they ate.
However, to the vast majority of younger folks today, both rural and urban, these terms I have used have very little meaning. Moreover, those who have lived in urban areas for several generations have long forgotten the critical role farmers have in the stability of our society.
Machines and other modern technologies have been developed to replace much of the human labor that was once required for the tasks I have listed above.
The resulting phenomenon is part of what we call “The rural-urban divide.”
Thus, we think we have become less dependent on each other for our day-to-day needs. We think all we have to do is to go to the store and buy what we need.
We had better start remembering that we all are still dependent on each other for our needs.
While most people, both urban and rural, readily accept and appreciate the value of mass producing many of our goods and services and the opportunity to economically purchase them from the “supermarket” or the “Super Wal-Mart,” they are easily disturbed when some misguided people complain about “factory farms” or “industrial farms.”
Today’s family livestock farmers team up with integrators to share the risk of doing business and to reap the benefits of economy of scale to produce food products at the lowest possible production cost.
Wake up, Mr. and Mrs. Urbanite! Stop being fooled by fake environmentalists who are more interested in lawsuits than the environment. Don’t be beguiled by extreme animal rights people who only want you to stop eating meat.
Wake up, Mr. and Mrs. Rural Resident! We have a great story to tell about our modern farming practices which produce an abundant supply of safe and economical food for a hungry world.
We, the people should realize that the principle of economy of scale is just as important to our modern family farmers as it is to the production of any other goods we produce. Also, remember only a well-fed nation can sustain freedom and liberty for future generations.
N.C. Rep. Jimmy Dixon, a Republican from Warsaw, represents District 4, which comprises portions of Wayne and Duplin counties.