Perception Vs. Reality: Debunking the Myths of Factory Farming - Food Dialogues

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Perception Vs. Reality: Debunking the Myths of Factory Farming


After visiting approximately 50 farms in the last few years, I can reassure you that farming has taken on a whole new meaning for me. In the past decades, not only has farming changed in order to keep up with our supply and demand, but also to remain current with the latest advances, since after all, farming is just like any other industry. However, when it comes to agriculture, there can be an unfavorable perception against farmers. Some people believe farmers should not take advantage of the latest advances in technology—even if it is to make farming more profitable and effective.

When it comes to agriculture, there is a lot of information consumers are unaware of, or perhaps misunderstand. In part, because most people have not visited a farm, or know what it takes for a farm to operate successfully and effectively. As a consumer, I know there can be many questions regarding farming and agriculture, but after having visited farms myself, I also know that answers could be provided if more people were interested in the food supply process. It might be safe to say that acquiring a little more information about agriculture could help consumers make better choices at the grocery store, and give them peace of mind.

With that being said, I want to take some time today to provide three key facts about farming, so you have the tools to make more informed decisions.

Farmers truly love their job
After countless conversations with farmers, and farm visits all over the world, I still have not met a farmer that does not love their job and their animals. Although farming is a 24 hours 7 days a week job, farmers still manage to tend lovingly and efficiently to their animals in order to prevent any sickness, or other issues that could occur. We must understand, and rest assured, that no matter the size of the farm, every animal is observed and cared for every single day to make sure they are getting the proper care and nourishment. Regardless of the hard work involved, I have seen how farmers continue to care for each animal as if they were an extension of their own families. It is a beautiful event to witness.

Farms growth = lower prices for consumers
Farms, like any other business are always looking to operate more effectively in order to provide better prices to consumers. Simply because many of these farms have joined forces in order to make farming more effective and affordable for consumers, it does not mean our current farms are not operating with the same high standards that brought them to this point. In reality, larger farms can afford to have better barns and provide their animals with the highest quality feeding systems, proper veterinary care, employ sufficient staff and afford modern facilities to operate at the highest standards.

Farmers need to make a profit
Over 90% of farms are family owed, which explains why farmers love their job so much and dedicate their lives to its success. However, there are reasons why farms face challenges. Given these points, it can be said that farming can at times be unpredictable due to so many changes in the environment and economy. Therefore, anything that we can do to make farmers’ job more effective—even if it is just recognizing their importance in our society—is a leap in the right direction.

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Sylvia Klinger is part of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s Digital Voices Council. All opinions expressed are the writer’s own. Funded by one or more checkoff programs.