Inside the Farming Industry

Coming from somewhat of an agricultural background, I know a bit more about the industry than the average joe. My small bit of agricultural knowledge gives me a little bit of insight to what farmers go through to produce the food that we so easily take for granted.

Fun fact: produce doesn’t magically appear on Safeway’s shelfs.

For some reason, we as a society tend to doubt where our food comes from. Some of these doubts are warranted by the horror stories we see on the news and certain documentaries. Others are simply a result of no or little education.

I found an article on buzzfeed.com titled “10 Things Farmers Are Tired Of Hearing.” The article lists facts about the agriculture industry educating the average consumer a little bit about their view of the world. Of course, Buzzfeed adds humor as well. Here are the farming rumors that farmers are tired of hearing:

  1. Food at the grocery store isn’t safe.
  2. Organic is healthier than conventional produce.
  3. Conventional produce is saturated in pesticides.
  4. All farmers are evil corporations. What happened the family farmer?
  5. GMOs are the devil. The Voldemort of our world.
  6. Illegal farm labor is taking jobs away from Americans.
  7. Farmers care only about making a profit; nothing else.
  8. Farmers are uneducated country bumpkins.
  9. I searched ____ on the internet and read that…
  10. We’re tired of, for lack of a better word, your being mean.

I’m not going to get into every one of these topics. I think Buzzfeed did a pretty good job with that. I just want to touch on a couple items.

3.  Conventional produce is saturated in pesticides.

Americans are famous for wanting to have our cake and eat it too. We want to have organic produce but get grossed out when we find an earwig in our corn. Pesticides are used to keep those nasty bugs out of our fresh food. If we want bug-free produce, then we will have to accept the fact that pesticides will be used. It’s not a fun fact to face, but it’s reality.

4. All farmers are evil corporations. What happened to the family farmer?

Corporations like Monsanto and Foster Farms are all we hear about the agriculture on the news. We rarely hear about the large production family farm in Nebraska (or where ever). Here’s a couple of information nuggets:

  • Family owned farms account for over 96% of the crop-producing operations in the U.S.
  • These farms are responsible for generating 87% of all agricultural revenues.

Corporations may have questionable practices at times, but they definitely haven’t overtaken the industry. Family farms are alive and well.

47624_FINAL_CorporateFarms_Infographic_JpegHiRes-573

   8.  Farmers are uneducated country bumpkins.

Ok, this one is just wrong. There is a big difference between an uneducated hick and a farmer. Farmers are responsible for feeding the vast majority of the planet. Just because their field of knowledge differs from that of a metropolitan scholar does not mean they are stupid. They know what they are doing, and they deserve respect. The work they are doing is not easy.

This ad put together by Dodge says it best:

Sources:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/apipkin/10-things-farmers-are-tired-of-hearing-131ey

http://www.nifa.usda.gov/nea/ag_systems/in_focus/familyfarm_if_overview.html

http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/ag101/demographics.html

http://findourcommonground.com/food-facts/corporate-farms/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMpZ0TGjbWE

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