Thankful for American entrepreneurialism
By Trent Loos
Once again the world’s largest pig show has come and gone in Duncan, Okla. This Fall Classic extravaganza was like no other. Every year that I go, it seems to bring the same sense of excitement, frustration and motivation for the future. This year will be remembered by most and especially by one farm family from California.
On Nov. 23, history was made in the sale ring with the champion crossbred boar, exhibited by Ryan Watje’s WD Swine Farm from Turlock, Calif. When the gavel dropped for the last time, the boar sold for a record-setting price of $380,000. Strangely enough, I suspect that the folks at Moyer Genetic Edge and Upper Hand Genetics will each have just as happy a Thanksgiving as the Watje family does. Their winning bid gave them the right to take this phenomenal animal home to the other end other country in Pennsylvania.
I am quite sure that many of you reading this are thinking that there were many foolish people involved in this scenario in order for a boar hog to sell for $380,000. I say just the opposite. We should all be “thankful” and celebrate our ability to gather and make such decisions as this.
Moyer and Platt are willing to make an investment of this magnitude because the odds are great that this boar will make them money, both in the short term and the long term. In addition, this type of American entrepreneurial spirit will improve the food production system for years to come.
I am fully aware that this show hog will not directly impact commercial pork production, but this kind of excitement will inspire another generation of young people to chase the American dream of success through hard work and dedication on the farm. That, in itself, will benefit everyone in the food business.
This Thanksgiving season I hope we think of not only our immediate family and friends that we are so thankful for but also the fact that we still live in a country where personal choice and the “pursuit of happiness” is an option. I will not try to camouflage in any way that these freedoms are under attack like never before, but in the same breath I remind you that you must “use it or lose it.”
Let’s remember during this holiday season to be thankful for living in a country where food production is so efficient that anybody can afford it. In fact, we spend so little on our food that everyday people have time and the money to complain about how available and affordable it is.
The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 28th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.04, a 44-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.48. Folks, that is accomplished because we have someone who says, “I can invest here or there to make the system better.”
Whether it be the champion boar from the Fall Classic or identifying a better strain of wheat with improved milling attributes in Montana, it is all a part of the American food system that is the envy of the world.
So as you say thanks to God in your Thanksgiving prayers this week, it might not be a bad idea to mention your appreciation for being given the ability to be a part of the greatest industry ever created—converting our God-given natural resources into the essentials of life for mankind! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from the Loos family.
Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.