Friday, December 11, 2015

Funding Donations Demonstrates That Sports Entertainment More Important Than Agriculture

There is no doubt that there is a world wide disconnect between people and where their food comes from. This disconnect is nothing new. A prime example is the Pilgrims off of the Mayflower. In spite of living next to an ocean full of fish (not to mention clams, mussels, crabs, and lobsters exposed at low tide) and on a land with abundant wild game, they nearly starved to death. The reason? Virtually none of them had ever had to grow their own food.

Fifty years ago, roughly half the people in the United States were involved in agriculture. Today that figure is less than two percent. From all of the news stories condemning factory farms, GMO food crops, pesticides and herbicides,one may assume that the public is concerned about their food supply. However two different funding campaigns tell a different story.

The first campaign is one started on November 28, 2015. Team roper Jake Barnes was practicing in his arena in preparation for the National Finals Rodeo when his horse fell. The horse stepped on his head and Jake was rushed to the hospital. Within twenty four hours a GoFundMe account was set up for Jake's family. In only eleven days, this campaign received $125,000 out of the $150,000 goal, from four hundred fifty one people. That is an average of $277 per donation.  By all accounts, Jake is one of the good guys, and the family probably needs some help at this time. However why is it that a sports figure like this receives more donations in less than two weeks than a family farm who has been put in dire straights by their own government and bank can raise in three weeks?

Jervoise Station, in Queensland, Australia is owned by  Greg and Kerry Jonsson. Ahead of the curve, they changed their cattle operation to organic in 1979. In 2005 they purchased their own abattoir so they could insure that people buying their beef would have a totally healthy, chemical free product. The business was successful and growing.

Then in 2014, the government owned power company decided they required the property where the abattoir was on. The family was forced to part with their processing plant for less than they owed on it. Although the business had been thriving and growing prior to the government take over of their abattoir, the bank refused to work with them and declared their station to be insolvent. The bank eventually agreed to work with them to build a new abattoir on the station, but only if they can raise $250,000. Without this money the family stands to lose their beloved Jervoise Station and the fifty years of blood, sweat, and tears they have poured into it.

In contrast to the donation campaign for Jake Barnes, their campaign has only raised $19,020 over the last month. The donations averaged $98 from only one hundred ninety four people. Not to take away from Mr. Barnes's situation, but why is it that a person whose main contribution to society is in a relatively minor sport raises more money faster than a family raising food in both a health and ecologically responsible manner? To find out more about the Jonsson family situation and help them not only keep their station, but to also keep the station and cattle from reverting back to a less environmentally, health conscious operation, visit their #SaveJervoise fund raising website.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Herd Instinct At Work

The school at Sonoma Station in Queensland, Australia last year was difficult as the training area had enough timber we couldn't see all of the cattle as they were coming off water. A man showed up for the last day who accidentally sent some cattle down the wrong trail and they ended up nearly a mile from the rest of the herd. I couldn't use the video last year as I didn't realize the GoPro editing program as a zoom feature in it. Recently figured that out so we can look at the video and see what is going on. Amazing at how fast these cattle come into the rest of the herd!