Ever been in a “Valley”?!

When most people here “valley”, the automatically think of the geographical area between two mountain ranges. Sometimes I find myself in a valley however when I’m a bit “down in the dumps”. According to http://www.dictionary.com, a valley could be “any place, period, or situation filled with fear, gloom,…..”. So have you ever been in a Valley?!

Last month the VALOR group met for a wonderful session in the Shenandoah Valley. We visited farms of all sizes and scopes; from a small direct to consumer sheep operation to a turkey farm raising thousands of the delicious fowl yearly. However, I would have to say the viewing of American Meat was rather intriguing to me.

We are told in the movie that the practices used in today’s modern meat production are not necessary to feed an ever rising population.  It paints a picture of today’s meat growers as barbaric “factory farmers”. There is even an interview with the highly accredited agriculturalist (insert sarcasm), founder and CEO of Chipotle, Steve Ells. Over the past two decades, the American consumer has demanded more for less. We have evolved as an industry to raise more food on less acres to provide this to the consumer. What I don’t understand is, why are others involved in this industry painting a picture the gloomy “valley” when it comes to modern conventional practices of raising meat?

I feel as though we can have our cake and it too! The Shenandoah Valley is an excellent example of that! I am a firm believer in buying fresh, local products when one has the means. There are places to do that in the valley. There are also farms who raise animal’s in a more conventional manner as well. Both are needed! Both have a place in our wonderful industry! Both need to get along!

The Shenandoah Valley is a valley only in the geographic sense; because when it comes to agriculture, they are high on the mountain! They boast 4 out of the top 5 agricultural producing counties (based on gross receipts) in Virginia. A place where you can have your cake and it too!

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