There’s a health care issue in my past your probably not aware of. A few years ago, a totally unrelated CAT scan showed a growth on my kidney that doctors were concerned about. Had an operation to remove it, it turned out to be a non-spreadable form of cancer. So every year I have a followup CAT scan, and things have always looked okay. Until last Friday, I think the doctor’s words were “the spot looks enhanced, compared to previous scans”. I don’t know what that means for sure, but he wants to do another surgery to remove whatever it is, scheduled for mid-October. Although I think my risk of getting killed in a car accident may be greater than dying from whatever mass of stuff is attached to my kidney right now, it makes you think. I’m thankful I can ultimately place my life in God’s hands at these times, knowing that he knows best in all things.
However, I can also be very thankful for modern health care technology. I’ve got a wonderful wife and four of the best kids, and if only for them I’m thankful we have a health care system that has pushed the technology envelope time and time again to do everything we can to find, diagnosis and fix all the things that can go wrong with us. (As a small example, in the short time since my last surgery, the doctor is now using a robotic arm for the operation for enhanced safety and effectiveness). You see modern technology has allowed very, very advanced tools to attempt to “fix” me and others, but it’s still the people that make it work – the doctors, nurses, specialists, aids, janitors, everyone.
I don’t claim to know a lot about healthcare, I trust the people that have made it their passion/livelihood. But I do know something about agriculture. And we face a very similar set of circumstances. Agriculture is rapidly changing. At the very core, from the way we put a seed in the ground, with large, expensive, incredibly engineered precision, to the very nature of that seed, researched and developed to meet specific needs, with a seed coating to fight off all the pests that seek to destroy it, agriculture has embraced technology.
I feel we must. In saying that, I take NOTHING away from those folks that desire to use or request the wide variety of production methods that exist, that’s the beauty of living in a free society. And I won’t give technology a blank check, there’s certainly risk involved, I’m glad it’s a highly-regulated business. But for all the conversations that take place about it, I believe one of the key voices that need to be heard is to actually hear from the farmers who are out every day, laboring with the same passion those that farmed before them did, just with very different tools.
But I also think of the many farmers across the globe who don’t have the luxury I do of incredibly expensive medical assistance, the desires they have for their kids are much more basic… Enough food to feed their family, maybe a bit more so they have something to sell and can pay for a child’s education. In the intense debate about global agriculture, I hope we let their voices be heard as well.