Election 2010 – The map that matters

There’s a lot that could be said about last night’s election, and it’s certianly going to affect the legislation coming out of Washington in a big way for the next two years at least.   However, I think there is one very clear, very direct ag story that happened last night.

I’m talking about Missouri Proposition B.  The “puppy” bill.  First, I don’t claim intimate knowledge of the bill, secondly, I’m aware there’s no direct language in the prop discussing farm animals.  Yet, I’m also aware that several Missouri farm/animal groups opposed the measure, including Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, and Missouri Farm Family Agricultural Alliance.

I have spoken to few farmers or anyone in these organizations about the issue, but it seems obvious to me it’s once again the core challenge of out-of-state special interest groups whose budget is more about money/politics than actual animal welfare that intend through ballot measures to write the rules on animal care.  This is good for neither the well being of people or animals.

But, the point isn’t what I think on the topic.  The point is the voters, and here we have a critical, critical lesson.  Study this map a bit.   Notice the incredibly strong urban/rural divide?   You can see individual county votes by moving your mouse over them.  Basically a few thousand votes made the difference, and yet, in many, many rural counties 70 to 80%+ votes were in opposition.  Yet, in the Kansas City and St. Louis metro area, 75-78% of the voting was in support.   I don’t even know that I’ve seen liberal/conservative candidates generate that wide of gap.

So, we have work to do!  This clearly demonstrates the intense need for agriculture advocacy, of sharing the modern ag story with those far removed from the farm.  I don’t think it’s going to be successful to wait until there’s a ballot initiative in your state, than try to explain why your opposed.  No we have to start at a much more basic level.  One thats harder to get and maintain motivation to do.  We have to re-connect with a population that doesn’t understand how their food is grown.  We also have to seriously consider how to assure a skeptical public that there is laws/regulations in place that do offer reasonable animal care standards.  I’m watching initiatives like the Ohio Livestock Standards Care Board closely on this topic.

I’ve been involved in this less than a year,  but this morning, studying this map, I see clearly and plainly the work that needs done.  And being a farmer, I know of no other way to go about it than rolling up the shirt sleeves and “agvocating” another day, something it seems will simply be part of my operation for the rest of my life.  Will you join me?

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Well said Darin. It’s amazing that people think lawyers and lobbyists know more than veterinarian and animal care experts and like agriculture this can have effects far outside Missouri. It tells us what kind of dog we can have – or can’t as it’s purebreds targeted with the legislation. It does nothing about the mutts reproducing and producing puppies that don’t have known characteristics that are predictable.

    Imagine being told purebred cattle breeders are held to a different standard. There’s nothing good that will come from this especially if there aren’t funds to pay for it and shelters are already saying they’re full and broke. I hope ag can make inroads – it’s needed.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Holly Martin on November 3, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Interesting map! It certainly tells the whole story.

    Reply

  3. I will most certainly join you….as a farmer, there is nothing more rewarding than kicking open the doors to my farm, in my blog and in person, and saying “Come on in!” To watch the reassurance show up on their faces (or in their comments) when they realize that even though today’s farms look different from what their grandparents had…the people who are running them haven’t changed much, still caring about the land, livestock, and future generations like they always have. It really is that simple…extend your hand, be open, and be honest. That is all people are looking for.

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  4. Yes, lobbyists do know more…more about how to frame an argument that will cause a person to take action, such as voting. Facts and needs assessments have nothing to do with it.

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  5. Posted by Dawn on November 3, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Very well said. I agree- I am a farmer but of a different kind- I raise horses and rabbits. We all need to join together to show how the ag lifestyle is lived. This is a very sad day for all the legitimate dog breeders in our wonderful state. And it also opens concerns for those of us that have other animals as “pets.” I know that I will be watching with a wide eye and open mind to all the future legislature that is brought to us- especially anything the HSUS is supporting. Thank you

    Reply

  6. […] blogger Darin Grimm and others were quick to point out, this battle wasn’t won on the gravel roads, it was won on […]

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  7. […] and then read Darin Grimm’s blog post on the election and the map that matters!!  https://daringrimm.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/election-2010-the-map-that-matters/ […]

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