From Washington with Karina Jones: National Ag Week

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From Washington with Karina Jones: National Ag Week

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Karina Jones is a real-life ranch wife in the Nebraska Sandhills, Field Director for R-CalfUSA and one of the most highly sought-after speakers in the cattle industry nationwide!

And now the NEW VOICE of Farm & Ranch Country, Karina Jones –

Hello everyone in farm and ranch country. The calves, lambs, and baby goats are really starting to hit the ground and it is feeling like spring from coast to coast. As we round out this week, I want to add some thoughts to what most have heard about all week being National Ag Week.

Those that work the land and tend to our nation’s herds are the backbone of our country, right with all of the professions that support them in the ag industry. The U.S. agriculture sector extends beyond the farm business to include a range of farm-related industries. In 2021, agriculture, food, and related industries contributed 5.4 percent to U.S. gross domestic product and provided 10.5 percent of U.S. employment. So, this sector of America’s fabric is a big deal.

With that in mind, it baffles me how our government continues to ignore the direction that have taken America’s farming and ranching industries. Once a vibrant powerhouse on the global screen, now we have let cheap food imports and processed foods line our grocery store shelves as we continue to lean more and more on other countries to feed. Also, there has been an incredible power shift in the food supply from local producers feeding their communities to global corporations, making the ag producers price takers and consumers hostages of a broken food system.

Our USDA will boast that we are producing more food on less acres, that we are producing more beef with less cattle. But, in reality that has not served ag producers or consumers favorably. We are losing tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers every year to lack of profitability. Our nation’s cowherd is now at a 60-year inventory low and by all accounts there is no rebuilding in sight.

Decades ago, DC sold us a “cheap food policy” theory that valued consolidation and an efficiency model that those of us with boots in the dirt knew was bound to fail. Now, there is no cheap food and sometimes no food on the grocery store shelves.

Maybe it is the nostalgia of it being National Ag Week that has me and many others doing a lot of deep and critical thinking about the state of affairs we are in. One of my friends on social media posted that in 20 years on National Ag Week our state can take all the farmers out to lunch, both of them. I haven’t seen a single disagreement with that opinion.

As I reported last week, net farm income is expected to fall again this year. The US tax payer cannot be expected to prop us up with subsidies. Afterall, how fair is it to make them PAY for their groceries twice basically cutting these corporations two paydays. DC needs to take this Farm Bill year to make the American farmer and rancher a priority in every business transaction they do, instead of a pawn on the global agenda. Remember this was National Ag Week, not international.

That’s all for today folks. I will see you right back here next week bringing you ag news from our nation’s capital to this great American radio station!

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Karina ranches with her husband, Marty, and 4 children near Broken Bow, NE. She grew up in western NE, with roots also in southwest SD. The cattle industry and raising kids is her passion.

Tune in Fridays on The Hot Barn Report, where she deep dives into cattle industry issues and highlights industry reforms or listen to Ranch Raised with Karina Jones a slice of daily life on the Jones Ranch.

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