Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Fun Farm Facts Follow-up

I recently posted on the fact that most US farms are family farms here. Pam left a comment:

Wow! I had no idea. This is actually very happy news. Giving a shout out to small family farms! I shopped at our local farmers market last Saturday for the last time this year and I was sad that it was the last time til summer.

(and what is it...the media? marketing? that makes us city folk think most farms are big corporations now?)

Well, our farm is a corporation. We farm 160 acres, small by most standards. We have one employee (The Farmer). But if you want the statistics to lean in a certain direction, you could say we are a corporate farm.

I suppose the same is true of the statistics that I posted in the Friday Farm Fun Facts linked above. A family corporation could farm thousands of acres and involve 8-10 people spanning 3 generations. It could be a huge operation. But it's still a family farm. So lesson #1 is always take statistics with a grain of salt.

Lesson #2 might be that while farms are mostly family operations, the businesses we buy our seeds and supplies from and sell our products to are NOT. In some peoples' minds it's too much trouble to distinguish between the two sectors. So everything is lumped together under agribusiness. Very tidy to deal with if you're a journalist or activist. Think of another industry--say tourism--and start imagining all the different types of jobs that fall under that umbrella. Everything from the hotel moguls to the entertainment crew at the theme park to the cab driver in the destination city. Are they the same? No. Is it convenient to lump them all together? Yes. And in the "lumping" you lose some clarity in communication.

And finally, now that your eyes are glazing over, there is a very real set of folks who would like to put animal agriculture out of business. The Hum^ane Soc^iety of the US (not affiliated with your local shelter) and P^E^T^A* have on their unstated agenda to at least eliminate animal agriculture, and maybe even make everyone eat only non-meat foods. I don't have a problem at all if you would like to eat vegetarian or vegan. Your food choices are your business. And I, too, would like my food choices to be my business. I would like to be able to choose to eat meat if I want to, and raise food for those who also choose to eat meat. They would like to take this choice away, or at least make it very painful or costly.

*I put those symbols in so that hopefully this post won't show up in their google searches--I would rather remain somewhat incognito to these people.

1 comment:

  1. I was once accosted by a P.I.T.A. lady while out at a South Beach (very touristy area) outdoor mall which consists of alot of restaurants and dinig alfreso. Well she was standing there with video of how chickens are mistreaded and poor things etc... I was looking a menu before getting seated and she grab my arm started in on the blah, of the chickens plight. I was annoyed and just looked at her straight in the eyes in front of a crowd, ask simply stated "Lady, God didn't put me at the top of the food chain to eat grass." She let me go in an instant. I guess the look I had was pretty threatening and I meant business. But I was also disgusted with the tactics of getting you to feel like a subhuman for eating meat, because really the "poor chickens" excessive eyeroll and pfffhht.


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