Karina Jones is a real-life ranch wife in the Nebraska Sandhills and one of the most highly sought-after speakers in the cattle industry nationwide!
We are rounding out National Ag Week. It is a warm and fuzzy few days when it feels like politicians and big ag gives us little people a nod and wink and says, “this ones for you.”
But the truth is, agriculture in America is a shrinking industry and with only 2% of our population occupying the farmer and rancher space, and dwindling, we face extinction really soon.
America has lost half a million of its beef cattle ranches since 1980. Right now the American cow herd is at its fourth lowest inventory on record and with drought and volatile market conditions, it doesn’t give the next generation much incentive to continue the fight.
America lost over half of its licensed dairy farms from 2002 to 2019 as that industry consolidates. When I was a little girl, there were hogs raised on dirt, every country mile. Now, you are hard pressed to find a hog that isn’t white and raised in confinement as that industry railroaded itself to vertical integration like a freight train headed for…..you know where.
When America decided to value cheap food policy the truth is, it meant it no longer valued the men and women raising the food in this country. It valued the corporations that could rob rural America and supply the dollar menu. And that is the dark side of American agriculture that no one is talking about. If food security is important to you, you better be willing to fight for it because the 2% of left won’t be enough to keep your grocery store shelves stocked.
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Karina ranches with her husband, Marty, and 3 daughters 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.
Watching the cattle industry go the path that it has gone, she could no longer sit quietly at home checking cows, fixing fence, and doing all the everyday tasks wondering when some else was going to make it all better. As she became more active and outspoken on industry issues, she was asked to join the R-CALF USA staff in September 2020 as the Checkoff Petition Campaign manager. That position transcended into her current role as full time Field Director for R-CALF USA.
You can hear her almost every Friday on Your Ag Network’s Hot Barn Report that is broadcast on 60 radio stations with coverage in 9 states, where she deep dives into cattle industry issues and highlights R-CALF’s work on industry reforms. Listen to Ranch Raised on a Your Ag Network hometown station or www.youragnetwork.com where she talks about her daily life on the ranch.