5 questions with ... Gabe Thompson, Jr., farmer/rancher, Antler, N.D.
Q: What is your role in agriculture today? As a cattle and grain operation, I have a variety of roles that are tied to the management and everyday happenings on our operation, but an increasingly important role I and every other producer face in ...
Q: What is your role in agriculture today?
As a cattle and grain operation, I have a variety of roles that are tied to the management and everyday happenings on our operation, but an increasingly important role I and every other producer face in a world of social media is as a representative of agriculture to the public who is the consumer.
Q: How do you farm differently than a generation before you?
One of the most stark contrasts of the advancements we have seen in a generation's time happened a couple years back. My father, who remembers as a child helping harness horses for work by lantern light, watched as a laser was being used chute side to etch the zona of an embryo that was being implanted into a recipient cow as a means to increase conception rates. Technological advances are a significant aspect of change, but so is a focus on the opportunity nature itself provides. Holistic changes to grazing and plant and soil health management have brought improved changes to our operation.
Q: What is one misconception about modern agriculture you would like to change and why?
One misconception is that that production technologies of today in agriculture are negatively impacting the health of the consumer. Science is a powerful truth if fact-based rather than agenda-driven. In a global setting of decreasing arable lands and increasing population, technologies such as GMOs and intensive production are necessary to meet the growing demand for proteins and nutrition around the world. Advancements such as golden rice, a GMO, can save millions of lives a year and better the health standing of people around the world.
Drought, disease and pest tolerance introduced into crops through technology will provide nutrition opportunities in areas long lacking them, improving quality of life for millions. There is indeed a responsibility in agriculture to ensure those providing us these technologies are following that fact-based science to maintain the trust of the consumer and to share our story, just as there is a responsibility of those speaking to consumers about what we produce to provide fact based truth about the foods they purchase.
Q: What are your future goals for your farm or for American agriculture as a whole, and what are you actively doing to address it?
As ranching is my passion, ultimately I would like to one day transition to a solely livestock-based operation involving the next generation. As for American ag as a whole, I want to be a better spokesperson and engage in opportunities to set the record straight and tell the positive story agriculture has to share and shape the direction it takes through involvement in opportunities like serving on the North Dakota Beef Commission and other venues.
Q: If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
It is a bit of a cop out to the question, but one single person is hard to identify as there is so much yet to learn and so many people that have such a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. I have a great deal of respect for those who are using innovative thinking to improve soil health and grazing opportunities to leave something better than we were given.
Would you like to be featured in this segment or know of someone who would make an interesting profile? Contact Katie Pinke at firstname.lastname@example.org .