Before anyone jumps to conclusions or gets offended, give me a chance to explain. These are my two best friends, Sarah and Pamela, and we have very different diets.
Sarah has been a vegetarian since long before I even met her. Pamela exclusively breastfed my godson as a baby; due to his food allergies, it was easiest for her to eat an almost entirely vegan diet. But me? I'm an omnivore. I'm a third generation family farmer and a retired livestock showman, and I honestly couldn't care less if someone chooses to be vegan or not.
For some reason, this surprises people, like I'm supposed to be personally offended by others' diet and lifestyle choices. I promise you, I do not care. I believe that everyone has the right to make choices about how they live their own life. Don't want to eat meat or consume any animal byproducts? That's awesome! Send me a creative recipe I can use to get my nieces and nephews to eat vegetables. Want to strictly eat beef jerky for the rest of your life? While that might not be exactly a well-balanced diet, be sure to send some samples my way. (Okay, that might be a slightly exaggerated example but you get the picture.)
When I say I don't care, I don't mean that I don't see or accept their choices as valid. They're completely valid and I do see them. When Sarah, Pamela and myself do dinner together, guess what? Our meal is normally vegetarian or completely vegan depending on what we decide to make. (And our recipes normally turn out delicious, but that's beside the point.) When I say I don't care if you're vegan I mean I'm not going to judge you or take personal offense to it like people assume I will.
I was raised in and around the agricultural industry, I've seen all the practices first hand. I genuinely believe in them ethically and I enjoy playing a small part in feeding the world. Other people don't agree with or support all of the practices involved in animal agriculture; that's okay too. It's not everyone's cup of tea and I'm not here to judge them because of it. It all goes back to the fact that I believe everyone has a right to exercise their freedom to choose how to live their life.
I'm more concerned about who you are as a person than about what you eat or don't eat for dinner. I'm much more inclined to be friends with a vegan who respects differing opinions over a meat eater who judges everyone that's different from them. Over the years I've been called a murderer, a psychopath, heartless, cold-blooded and every other word in the book by others that don't agree with my choices or practices. I've learned to not let it get to me, especially as someone who writes about the agricultural industry online. If you result to blatant disrespect over civil discussion then it's not worth letting it get to me.
The reason I farm is to feed people no matter what their diet choices are. Whether you're a meat eater, a vegetarian, a vegan or an Apache attack helicopter I don't care. No matter how you choose to live your life or fill your stomachs I'll still be farming to keep food on all of our tables.