Read: No GMOs in Cheerios
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By PETTUS READ

Sure will be glad to see nice weather come back to the Volunteer State. These up and down polar vortex changes have just about taken a toll on a body’s constitution and it allows too much time for folks to sit around and think too much. Down at the store they were back on the discussion of GMOs, with the majority sitting around the stove not even knowing what it stood for, and the others telling what they had heard on the Today show. We have got to get this crowd back in the field!

It seems General Mills is advertising that they have no GMOs in their Cheerios, which they claim is a good thing. The only thing is that Cheerios is a toasted whole grain oat cereal, and as far as I know, there has not been any oat grain ever produced with GMOs in the first place. It was determined down at the store that some companies use current debates to help promote their products when they should learn more about what the ruckus is all about in the first place.

It’s amazing how some folks think they know everything about everything when they know nothing about most things. That reminds me of a ag day visit on Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie’s farm a couple years ago when some city ladies came to call. I think I may have told this story before, but it is so good, that I would like to tell it again, since it goes so well with Cheerios and the lack of GMOs.

One day in March a few years ago, I stopped by to see folks out on the farm and they had just had a visit from a group of ladies from town. Aunt Sadie, while wiping her hands on her apron, began the story by saying, “We had an ag day visit here at the farm last week. Cousin Pity, you know, Patty’s sister who lives in town, brought her ladies club out for a day on the farm. I served them teacakes and spiced tea here in the farmhouse. We had a wonderful time. None of those ladies had ever been on a real Tennessee farm before. Sid hid out in the barn and said he really wasn’t much into socializing.”

Uncle Sid was sitting in front of the TV at the time, watching commercials as Aunt Sadie talked. I knew what she meant about his socializing with a group of city ladies. “After we had our refreshments and talked a while, the ladies wanted to see the farm animals and I took them to the barn where Sid was,” Aunt Sadie said while winking at me.
With that bit of information, Uncle Sid turned and looked at both of us as Aunt Sadie went on explaining the tour of the farm. “I showed them the chickens, the goats, the pigs, the sheep and the cows, which most of them were just carried away with,” Aunt Sadie said. “I even showed them your Uncle Sid as the farmer when we walked in the barn and all the ladies really laughed at that.”

That was the last straw that got Uncle Sid’s goat. “Yeah, and that Myrtle lady who was with them was a laugh a minute herself,” Uncle Sid answered with a frown on his face.

Seeing my chance, I asked, “What was Myrtle’s problem, Uncle Sid?”

“Well, Boy,” he said (still calling me Boy at 65 years old), “She didn’t like the way we took care of any of our animals. She wanted the chickens to run free, the pigs to wallow in the mud and the cows, she thought, looked unhappy. She had never been on a farm, but had all the answers.”

However, a smile came over his face and he said, “But while they were walking back to their cars, Myrtle stopped at one of my sheds and called for me to come immediately. I didn’t know what was wrong, so I almost ran up there, and when I got there she asked me while pointing in the shed, ‘Mr. Sid, why doesn't this cow have any horns?’”

“Trying to be patient with her, I answered by saying that cattle can do a lot of damage with horns. Sometimes we keep them trimmed down. Other times we can fix up the calves by putting a couple drops of special medicine where their horns would grow in, and that stops them from growing. Still, there are some breeds of cows that just don’t grow horns. But Ms. Myrtle, the reason this cow here doesn’t have any horns is the fact that it's a horse.”

I just hope Cousin Pity is still a member of her city ladies club, because Aunt Sadie said all the ladies were really carrying Myrtle pretty high about not recognizing a horse when they left the farm, and I understand Myrtle is chairman of the membership committee. Maybe next, Aunt Sadie can serve them Cheerios and Uncle Sid can explain why they are not eating GMOs.


Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.
He may be contacted by e-mail at pread@tfbf.com

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