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Mainstream aggies are 'stealing our words!"

Regular readers of this blog, all two or three of you, know that I sometimes chide mainstream aggies for refusing to try to understand people who don't look at the world in the same way.

But the same can be said for some folks outside mainstream ag. Case in point: I received a recent email -- it went to a lot of people, not just me -- from a guy who strongly opposes the use of chemicals in our food production system. (I think that position is unrealistic, but this is a free country, thank goodness, and he has the right to hold it.) In his email, he ripped into what he called "industrial ag" and what he sees as its cynical, p.r.-driven use of words and concepts -- "sustainability" among them -- that he and other like-minded aggies hold near and dear.

"They're stealing our words!," he complained.

Well, he's certainly right that sustainability is gaining traction in mainstream ag. And he may be right that some in mainstream ag are insincere when they promote their interest in it.

But mainstream aggies I know and respect are placing increasingly emphasis on sustainability through both word and deed. The concept doesn't mean exactly the same to them as it does to the aggrieved anti-chemical aggie, but it's something they value and are putting into practice.

No, they're not stealing your words. They're adopting and incorporating some of your concepts. That's a good thing -- and something the anti-chemical aggie might realize if he tried to understand people who don't look at the world in the same way he does.

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