Dear Secretary Vilsak,
We would like to thank you and the USDA for responding to the ‘Meatless Monday’ issue so quickly. It was reassuring that the passage had been included without the proper clearance and that the USDA supports personal choice. After this unfortunate experience I am hoping you take the time to share with the agricultural community how the department plans on preventing this type of issue from occurring again.
As you are most likely aware, in recent years, there has been a growing community of farmers who have been making time to “know their customer,” by engaging in conversation’s both on and offline in an effort to have a constructive conversation about how food is grown. Your department had a firsthand experience in getting to ‘Know Your Farmer.’ It is exciting to see the increased participation of farmers and ranchers involved in social media platforms.
We are encouraged through your actions, that the USDA is listening. It is our hope that we might be able to continue a positive dialogue moving into the future. Being able to provide a diversity of healthy choices is one objective we can all agree on.
In closing, it may be beneficial for your entire staff to challenge themselves to review the most current projects and studies related to agriculture, so as to be able to represent those that they serve to the best of their ability. Addressing this particular issue are two studies by Dr. Bauman, Cornell University and Dr. Capper, Washington State University titled “The Carbon Footprint of Beef Production” and “Efficiency of Dairy Production and It’s Carbon Footprint,”
We appreciate your time, effort and service.
Jeff Fowle, Mike Haley and Ray Prock