Driving is exactly like agriculture.

I was driving home last night on I-90. It was raining. A semi was trying to block me in. I have an irrational fear of driving around semis; they look mean. (I did say it was an irrational fear, but…do you know that movie Joy Ride? There’s your source for my irrational fear.) And as I was slamming on the gas to get past my very large fellow road warrior, I thought to myself, “Wow. Driving is exactly like agriculture.”

We get in our vehicles each day, and we commute to work, haul feed to the yearlings, or zip down to the post office to send the fruitcake back to great aunt Edna so she can regive it next year. We are saved from head-on collisions at 60 and 70 miles an hour by a mere two feet, sometimes less.

We trust total strangers to stay on their side of the road. We trust total strangers to stop at red lights and to pass with care – even though statistics tell us that they don’t with uncomfortable regularity. There were 10.2 million motor vehicle accidents in 2008 and 39,000 deaths. Sometimes it’s human error. Sometimes it’s mechanical error. Either way, we drive. This country is dependent on driving; it’s just how we live our lives (many of us).

And yet, when it comes to agriculture and our dependency on food sources, the continued highlight of a few bad actors as normal practice is something that bothers me. I am an advocate of consumers asking questions, doing research, and settling on a food source they are comfortable with. Too often, I think consumers are making food choices based on limited knowledge or incorrect information.

Some people like to drive semis over pick-ups or a Prius over riding a bicycle. Some people won’t move the car without their seatbelt on, and some won’t put on a seatbelt until a cop flashes by.

Some people strive to eat organic or local; some just shop at the local grocery store. Some people are vegetarian, follow different types of diets or are on Weight Watchers.

The same goes for producers too, you know. Some farmers choose to include conservation practices into their operations. Some farmers are dedicated to their crop rotations. Some ranchers raise grass-finished beef. Some ranchers finish their own beef for local customers, and some ranchers ship to the feedlot.

Choices: we – consumers and producers – make them every day from hopping into the car to run an errand to selecting the food we eat. It’s important our choices are not based in irrational fear (like my “driving-next-to-a-semi” phobia) but in solid research and information.

The best person to do that? You.


  1. You and Rachel both have that fear. My philosophy is to gas it past them as fast as possible.

  2. You’re right on with this post. By the way, I used to drive a semi before I went to college and still do on occasion. They aren’t as scary as they seem once you get up in the cab. In fact, it might be one of my favorite places to be 😉

    • We can still be friends. 🙂 Actually I like semis from that standpoint. I’ve never driven one, but I do enjoy riding in them. Driving next to them tho…like I said, an irrational fear!

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