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ATLANTA, January 11, 2011 – Farmers became a big part of “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe” when Rowe took offense at the saying, “work smarter, not harder.”

“What a silly way to separate knowledge from skill,” Rowe told attendees at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd annual meeting Monday. Rowe decided to celebrate people who work both smart and hard and knew farmers and ranchers do both.

“It seems like every time I go to a farm, there’s some type of issue,” he said, recounting what happened after three farm episodes aired.

On his series “Dirty Jobs,” that airs on the Discovery Channel, Rowe helped a hog farmer with an operation near Las Vegas gather leftover food from casinos, which the farmer cooked in his Rube Goldberg invention and then fed to the hogs. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wrote to him, concerned that the warm food was harming the animals. The Environmental Protection Agency feared gas escaping from a hose under a truck hood might be toxic when in fact it was steam.

Rowe visited a laying hen operation in Buckeye, Ariz., which he said enabled him to give an honest, fair look at caged egg production. Because “we deal with feces from every species,” Rowe used a bobcat to clean up chicken manure that accumulated below the cages. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said his skill with the bobcat – or lack thereof – had come perilously close to endangering the health of the workers at the farm.

Before a visit to a Craig, Colo., sheep ranch to assist with castrating lambs, Rowe asked the humane society about the preferred method for the procedure and was told how to use a rubber band to accomplish the task. However, he learned that the lambs recovered quickly after the ranchers’ method of clipping and extracting the genitals but would be in pain for up to two days if rubber bands were used. “I saw with my own eyes that it was a kinder, gentler way to do it for the lamb,” he said of the rancher’s procedure.

That got Rowe to thinking: if these experts and agencies were wrong about what they saw on “Dirty Jobs,” what else were they wrong about?

American farmers are surrounded by angry activist groups, each with its own agenda, he said. “Our country is asking you to do more with less every single year and I see a lot of other agendas pushing at you. The rest of the country needs to understand what you guys do on a day-to-day basis. We are not sufficiently astounded that you guys feed [the world] every day.”

Rather than a spokesman, agriculture needs lots of advocates, Rowe said. These advocates can each use their talents to tell their story. He cited Troy Hadrick, a Farm Bureau member in South Dakota whose YouTube video attracted the interest of a furniture company owner who now sponsors a Nascar entry that promotes agriculture during races.

Rowe himself has produced two “brown before green” specials that showcase farmers’ work to care for the earth. “You find a farmer and scrape off the dirt and you’ll find one of the greenest people on the planet,” he said. Saying he was flattered at having been asked to be a spokesman for agriculture, he told Farm Bureau members, “I do believe in my heart of hearts that you are your own best spokesmen.”

*Reprinted with permission
Visit The Voice of Agriculture ~ American Farm Bureau website to view this article and more .

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5 Comments

    1. Mike,
      I see that you have noticed in your travels that the one thing there is no shortage of in this country is people that are overly impressed with their own presumed intelligence as well as their never to be questioned importance. They have created little networks that have festered into government agencies. They doubled talked their way into being considered sane. Why? It beats me ! Our food suppliers,all aspects of our timber industry, oil production etc. are being held hostage at the hands of these Eco-nuts. People that have never done a REAL days worth of work in their life are now telling us how we SHOULD work. Let’s find a nice ,quiet, third world country where they can go and put their little theories into action. (without U.S.Federal Aid) We could get back to doing what made this country great in the first place without their interference. We would never hear from them again. These people could not exist without someone else getting their hands dirty to provide for them. The sad thing is that they are to stupid to understand it. BTW… It’s time for “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS”to breathe it’s last.
      My family and I appreciate you for having the common sense and the back-bone to be a voice exposing the stupidity that is choking the very life from a working , self-suffient country that has been a model for the rest of the world.
      Thanks Mike

      K.D.Wallace | 04/12/11 | 6:44 pm
    2. Mike, as a man who grew up in New Mexico, one of the biggest cattle ranching, oil producing, and believe it or not, farming states in the United States, I was alway insulted at the fact that environmentalists were such busy bodies standing in the way of proper stewardship of our natural resources by farmers, ranchers, foresters. As a man who came from a farming and ranching family, and a family who has had some dealings with oil and gas (New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana are where my family is from)- These people, the people that USE the land for their livelyhoods have over time, trial and error, developed the most effective and efficient methods by which to use these resources to produce for them.. year after year for the long term.. AKA, they are good stewards of these resources as they depend on them… forever… So, why not turn back to these people the decisions of management- the real experts, not the pencil pushers in a building in Washington who know not what it is to rough up your hands or get dirt under your nails.

      Aaron Perdue | 01/25/11 | 5:34 pm
    3. you are just simply fantastic!

      Sue | 01/22/11 | 8:01 pm
    4. Mike, I love your show and applaud you for this effort and all the ’tillers of the soil’ that you’re speaking up for. I myself am one of those folks with the degrees and a city job, but I’m not unaware of how my groceries are laid before me at the store only after the hard and diligent work of so many dedicated people who get their hands dirty for all of us. I weep for the blighted farms in my beloved California central valley. Thanks Mike!

      John | 01/19/11 | 8:23 am
    5. Mike, Thanks for the support of farmers. My husband and I farm a little over a thousand acres (corn, soybeans) in Iowa. We also have an agricultural drainage (tiling) business. Talk about a dirty job! I’ve had mud in places that probably shouldn’t have had mud. Farming requires long hours, hard work, lots of money, an exceptional thinking brain, and a love of the land. No, you won’t get rich doing it but you get a whole lot more – when you go to bed at night, you respect yourself and know you are doing something great in this world. Thank you again for your support and if you ever want to come get muddy with me, the invitation is open!

      Jan Jolly | 01/14/11 | 8:06 am