When I was in Ontario covering this month’s cover story, my family and I had the chance to go to the Canadian Exposition in Toronto. It was the equivalent of a super-sized state fair, complete with rides and a building full of some of the unhealthiest yet tastiest food around.
One of my favorite (or favourite, since it was in Canada) exhibits there was The Farm, which featured everything from sheep to cows, turkeys to honey bees. If an animal is an integral part of our food chain, it was there. This was nothing like the petting zoos that you see at zoos. I don’t have a problem with petting zoos, mind you. My girls love them; they just tend to create the image that farm animals exist solely to be petted and brushed by visiting children.
The Farm, though, didn’t gloss over the purpose of the animals for food, clothing and other materials. The displays talked about the animals and how important they are for us as consumers and for the agricultural community in Ontario. Farmers were on hand to talk to visitors about their life and answer any questions. The pig display had a sow in a farrowing crate with a litter of piglets. If any visitor had a problem with the pig being kept in such a crate, there was a young farmer there who could explain its purpose and use.
Taken as a whole, The Farm was a wonderful educational experience and presented the agricultural industry in such a positive light. I would love to see this concept repeated all over the country so more people could see it. The agriculture industry gets vilified on a regular basis, and it needs more outlets like The Farm to tell its side of the story.
The first ever North American Meat Association Outlook Conference was a tremendous success, tempered by the fact that one of the familiar faces was not there. Bobby Hatoff, chairman of Allen Brothers, died on October 7, weeks before he was to be inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame. I got to know Bobby as I was working on the Allen Brothers cover story for the first issue of Independent Processor, and I always looked forward to catching up with him at industry events. His generosity and kindness will be missed.
As this magazine was going to press, we learned that Don Clift, CEO of Preferred Beef Group and NAMA co-secretary, was killed along with his wife Jana in a car accident on November 11. We offer our condolences to the Hatoff and Clift families for their losses.
Sam Gazdziak; firstname.lastname@example.org