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Dirty_D
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 7:40:18 AM

Rank: Head Nurse

Joined: 4/15/2011
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Location: Soaking up the sun, United States
In the area where I grew up, I hear a lot of people complain about 'factory farms' and how they are ruining the traditional family farm. In that area of the counntry it is very much a hot button topic with people vehemently complaining about them.



My question for Lush is taken the economics in the above table should we be fighting factory farms?


Buz
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 7:57:21 AM

Rank: The Linebacker

Joined: 3/2/2011
Posts: 5,832
Location: Atlanta, United States
I actually have a couple of huge factory farms as clients as well food processing corporations that deal with them. I feel really bad for the family farms but it is hard for them to compete. Just a part of our evolving world.

Dirty_D
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 8:04:46 AM

Rank: Head Nurse

Joined: 4/15/2011
Posts: 7,218
Location: Soaking up the sun, United States
That is so true, and if we didn't have the consumer drive for cheap mega packs of eggs we wouldn't have battery cage egg farmers anymore. After all we are the customers of the farm and if we were to buy the cage free eggs instead that is what would be raised!


Magical_felix
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 8:43:04 AM

Rank: Wild at Heart

Joined: 4/3/2010
Posts: 4,908
Location: California
What society should concentrate on is over population and the fact that a lot of that population lives check to check. Of course factory farms make more economic sense because there is a bigger market of consumers that will always pick the jug of milk that is cheaper. So the factory farms will choose to make a very small profit on a jug and sell millions of them than make a higher profit and only sell thousands. It's about the target marget and I suppose the biggest market for milk doesn't give a shit how well cows are treated or wether they are hormone free... They just want cheap milk.



Buz
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 8:58:17 AM

Rank: The Linebacker

Joined: 3/2/2011
Posts: 5,832
Location: Atlanta, United States
The world does have mass overpopulation and somehow food must be mass produced or people will starve. That is why must use pesticides, fertilizer and genetically altered vegetables. The same goes for meat & dairy. Unfortunately we have no choice. Gong 'green' or 'organic' cannot feed the masses. It can produce a specialty product for those that can financially afford it. Yes I do usually purchase 'organic' vegetables or get them from relatives that grow vegetables. I feel safer buying my veggies from relatives that I know grow them in a clean environment.

Well I may have been wrong in saying that we don't have a choice in mass production to feed the world. We do have a choice though to not use fertilizer, pesticides, etc., that is if we are willing to let entire nations of people die from starvation and reduce the world's population. I for one am not willing for that to happen.

I think eventually the entire world will be under a one world autocratic government that will reduce the world's population through birth control. But I doubt that it will come in my lifetime but the generation being born right now might experience that.

I remember my granddad hand milking cows and squirting warm fresh milk into my mouth when I was just a little kid. I still get a big kick out of going to visit him at his farm. He loads me up with fresh veggies during the harvest season.

LadyX
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 9:07:26 AM

Rank: Artistic Tart

Joined: 9/25/2009
Posts: 4,827
Buz and others are right that given the world's food challenges, non-organic high-volume food production is probably inevitable, though I'd be hopeful and open about a counterpoint to that. The mass-production vegetables, fruits, beef, dairy, chicken, pork, etc. (factory farmed food) is shitty, devoid of the nutrients that occur in nature, and chock full of all kinds of stuff that doesn't occur in nature (some of which alter our chemistry). I don't know how much of that is necessary to keep their volumes up and their costs low.

Then there are the practices of companies like Monsanto. It's companies like these that make people distrust corporate culture with no hope of re-earning that trust. There's a handful of organizations that I believe to be deserving of some forms of eco-terrorism. A couple of them are Agri- and Meat-processing corporations like Monsanto and Tyson.
1curiouscat
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 9:35:20 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 4/25/2011
Posts: 1,144
Location: São Paulo , Brazil
I don´t have the sources to quote right now - ill try to find them later but here are my two cents.

Aproximatly 70% of all land used (worldwide) to grow some kind of food stock (from fruits to produce to grains) is used to plant grains that are processed as food for the catle industry. 95% of the deflorestation for farm land in the Amazon is for soy production that is processed into food for livestock.

Over population is not the problem. Our lack of sustainable farming is the problem. The industry that contols the farm land is directing its resources (land, time, money) into a practice that is outdated and unsustainable.

If the world population became vegetarians tomorrow, famine would cease to exist. There would be enough food for all 7 billion of us many times over. But, who wants to give up their juicy burgers right? ;)



Overwhelming Reality

From Across the Room
Magical_felix
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 9:38:57 AM

Rank: Wild at Heart

Joined: 4/3/2010
Posts: 4,908
Location: California
LadyX wrote:
Buz and others are right that given the world's food challenges, non-organic high-volume food production is probably inevitable, though I'd be hopeful and open about a counterpoint to that. The mass-production vegetables, fruits, beef, dairy, chicken, pork, etc. (factory farmed food) is shitty, devoid of the nutrients that occur in nature, and chock full of all kinds of stuff that doesn't occur in nature (some of which alter our chemistry). I don't know how much of that is necessary to keep their volumes up and their costs low.

Then there are the practices of companies like Monsanto. It's companies like these that make people distrust corporate culture with no hope of re-earning that trust. There's a handful of organizations that I believe to be deserving of some forms of eco-terrorism. A couple of them are Agri- and Meat-processing corporations like Monsanto and Tyson.



Dude... I wouldn't even mention them... Like you know, you don't want to go and say da wrong ting 'bout those guys... Know what I mean?



littlemissbitch
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 9:43:56 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 9/6/2011
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Location: the land of enchantment, United States
i think felix makes the best point..."they all just want cheap milk". i want cheap milk too. and generally i dont think about the cows or the hormones, my grocery list is running in my head. and maybe thats the crux of the problem. the general population doesnt THINK about it. i believe thats how companies like Monsanto can come into being. its all supply and demand...if we dont buy monsanto corn there wont be monsanto corn. but we dont think about how the corn is grown...we just want cheap corn.

and i get the argument that people can afford only what they can afford and thats what keeps us in the catch 22

littlemissbitch ~ professional face ripper offer, at your service..
Magical_felix
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 9:49:00 AM

Rank: Wild at Heart

Joined: 4/3/2010
Posts: 4,908
Location: California
1curiouscat wrote:
I don´t have the sources to quote right now - ill try to find them later but here are my two cents.

Aproximatly 70% of all land used (worldwide) to grow some kind of food stock (from fruits to produce to grains) is used to plant grains that are processed as food for the catle industry. 95% of the deflorestation for farm land in the Amazon is for soy production that is processed into food for livestock.

Over population is not the problem. Our lack of sustainable farming is the problem. The industry that contols the farm land is directing its resources (land, time, money) into a practice that is outdated and unsustainable.

If the world population became vegetarians tomorrow, famine would cease to exist. There would be enough food for all 7 billion of us many times over. But, who wants to give up their juicy burgers right? ;)


Sustainable farming is more expensive. You have to raise the price of what your are producing to cover the costs. This will cause you to move less products. You will downsize your farm as a result and you're back to what the original poster is talking about.

Plus it's so easy to be officially "sustainable" and not really be. For California anyway. you guys would be shocked at the lack of officials that actually check up on the agriculture industries claims of being sustainable. It's a joke. Especially when the industry still relies on the honor system for reporting pesticide use. The masses are so clueless.



Magical_felix
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 10:02:08 AM

Rank: Wild at Heart

Joined: 4/3/2010
Posts: 4,908
Location: California
littlemissbitch wrote:
i think felix makes the best point..."they all just want cheap milk". i want cheap milk too. and generally i dont think about the cows or the hormones, my grocery list is running in my head. and maybe thats the crux of the problem. the general population doesnt THINK about it. i believe thats how companies like Monsanto can come into being. its all supply and demand...if we dont buy monsanto corn there wont be monsanto corn. but we dont think about how the corn is grown...we just want cheap corn.

and i get the argument that people can afford only what they can afford and thats what keeps us in the catch 22


I see it all the time in my industry. The product I produce. What sells big changes every year and it's directly related to people's spending habits. I hear all of the time from the producers and processors, who's hurting and who isn't. When the economy is shit, then I hear the cheaper product selling more and making more money off the quantity they sell over the more fancy brands. When the economy is perceived as doing well then the products with a higher selling point but boasting better quality tend to catch up and sell too. But no matter what, the cheaper brands do well, good or bad economy, cause a lot of people don't have sophisticated enough palates to tell the difference between organic/sustainable anyway so they don't care. I know I don't sometimes.



lafayettemister
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 10:04:29 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 10/4/2010
Posts: 6,373
Location: Alabama, United States
People have eaten the farmed produce for so long they don't realize what they're missing. Just a couple weeks ago my 5yr old daughter went to a smallish family owned strawberry patch. She came home with way more than we could have eaten. I brought some to work to share. People were amazed at how "fresh" and delicious they were... compared to what they get in the grocery store.

It's just another way that younger generations ahve lost touch. My 74 year old day still have a vegetable garden in his back yard. It's not that big, maybe five or six 15ft rows. Just a few days after surgery and still with a feeding tube in his gut, he was out there watering his veggies. And let me tell you, that shit DOES taste better. Rarely does he have to buy any farmed groceries from the store. I don't have a veggie garden, I can't be bothered with the time and effort. Nor do I really know how to do it. But I should fucking learn.

Also, nearly every city and town has a farmer's market. Full of home grown fresh produce. But hardly anyone shops there. "It's too expensive". Stupid, we'd rather pay .20 less a pound for shitty tasteless tomatoes than buy something fresh and local and a little out of the way.





When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
Magical_felix
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 10:11:23 AM

Rank: Wild at Heart

Joined: 4/3/2010
Posts: 4,908
Location: California
lafayettemister wrote:
People have eaten the farmed produce for so long they don't realize what they're missing. Just a couple weeks ago my 5yr old daughter went to a smallish family owned strawberry patch. She came home with way more than we could have eaten. I brought some to work to share. People were amazed at how "fresh" and delicious they were... compared to what they get in the grocery store.

It's just another way that younger generations ahve lost touch. My 74 year old day still have a vegetable garden in his back yard. It's not that big, maybe five or six 15ft rows. Just a few days after surgery and still with a feeding tube in his gut, he was out there watering his veggies. And let me tell you, that shit DOES taste better. Rarely does he have to buy any farmed groceries from the store. I don't have a veggie garden, I can't be bothered with the time and effort. Nor do I really know how to do it. But I should fucking learn.

Also, nearly every city and town has a farmer's market. Full of home grown fresh produce. But hardly anyone shops there. "It's too expensive". Stupid, we'd rather pay .20 less a pound for shitty tasteless tomatoes than buy something fresh and local and a little out of the way.


I agree the farmers market stuff is way better. Way better. It likes inspires you to cook good dishes even. BUT, the fucking market in my town is on a Tuesday during the day... It's more than just .20 cents more expensive per pound too.. But it being on a Tuesday morning, guess who the main target market is? That's right, mostly well off people that don't have to work on a tuesday. The products available reflect this. Want the best honey ever? It's only 15 bucks a jar but it has the honeycomb in it so you know it's all organic n stuff and it tastes amazing.. But some honey, a few tomatoes, some fresh basil and some organic olive oil later, your fucking summer tomato salad is costing you 40 bucks for 2 people...



Dirty_D
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 10:30:28 AM

Rank: Head Nurse

Joined: 4/15/2011
Posts: 7,218
Location: Soaking up the sun, United States
1curiouscat wrote:
I don´t have the sources to quote right now - ill try to find them later but here are my two cents.

Aproximatly 70% of all land used (worldwide) to grow some kind of food stock (from fruits to produce to grains) is used to plant grains that are processed as food for the catle industry. 95% of the deflorestation for farm land in the Amazon is for soy production that is processed into food for livestock.

Over population is not the problem. Our lack of sustainable farming is the problem. The industry that contols the farm land is directing its resources (land, time, money) into a practice that is outdated and unsustainable.

If the world population became vegetarians tomorrow, famine would cease to exist. There would be enough food for all 7 billion of us many times over. But, who wants to give up their juicy burgers right? ;)


I also can not quote my sources right now(on my phone), however neither organic or vegatrianism is sustainable over the long term. We need a blend of types of farming to be sustainable. (promise to come back later with the sources)

sustainability of organic farming

side effects of vegan


lafayettemister
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 10:38:13 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 10/4/2010
Posts: 6,373
Location: Alabama, United States
Magical_felix wrote:


I agree the farmers market stuff is way better. Way better. It likes inspires you to cook good dishes even. BUT, the fucking market in my town is on a Tuesday during the day... It's more than just .20 cents more expensive per pound too.. But it being on a Tuesday morning, guess who the main target market is? That's right, mostly well off people that don't have to work on a tuesday. The products available reflect this. Want the best honey ever? It's only 15 bucks a jar but it has the honeycomb in it so you know it's all organic n stuff and it tastes amazing.. But some honey, a few tomatoes, some fresh basil and some organic olive oil later, your fucking summer tomato salad is costing you 40 bucks for 2 people...


Is the farmer's market target group the well off people or is that how the free market system led it to be? Did the local farmer's initially set up shop with friendlier hours for the masses? Maybe they lost money and produce and had to downsize/downscale and Tuesdays during working hours is when happened to work best. Farmers have family responibilities too.

I wonder if it were easier and less regulatory to get fresh local produce into area grocery stores, it would lead to more people buying locally? Problem is, the big factory farms don't want that because they know their product is inferior. So they play hard ball with all the chains and the chains keep the local farmer out. It's a vicious circle.

I'm very fortunate that this area has several Home Pickin's stands around the city. Fresh produce always available, but it is pricier. And they're open daily. Now we also have a Sunday once a month where we have access to fresh meat, salsas, jerky, and all kinds of other stuff. Man, that shit is good.





When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
Jack_42
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 11:27:39 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/21/2009
Posts: 986
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
It§s interesting to note how such a negative term as excrement has now become so positive. There's hope for us fresh food manure munching lovers yet.
Buz
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 12:01:07 PM

Rank: The Linebacker

Joined: 3/2/2011
Posts: 5,832
Location: Atlanta, United States
You have wonder how much cancer is caused by the food we eat. Think of all the pesticides and unnatural fertilizer that is used, and the genetic alterations to agriculture. We are what we eat. I think preservative additives are one of the most dangerous factors in possible food caused cancer.

We also have to deal with the problems of contamination on 'organic' foods. Without using the same techniques we dread in growing and harvesting the other foods increases the chance of bacterial contamination in 'organic' food. You actually have a better chance of getting very sick from eating organically grown food as opposed to the unhealthier food. Typical of our choices in life. No matter which choice right or wrong, the consequences can be disastrous.

I have always seen the irony in the term 'organic.' Actually all food whether grown with pesticides, fertilizers, etc or not, is still organic. It however is just a marketing term.

If you have always lived in the city or suburbs and never really spent anytime on a rural farm the you ought to change that. One of the most peaceful experiences you can ever have is hanging around on a farm. Watch out for the fresh cowpiles though.

Magical_felix
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 1:48:36 PM

Rank: Wild at Heart

Joined: 4/3/2010
Posts: 4,908
Location: California
Buz wrote:
You have wonder how much cancer is caused by the food we eat. Think of all the pesticides and unnatural fertilizer that is used, and the genetic alterations to agriculture. We are what we eat. I think preservative additives are one of the most dangerous factors in possible food caused cancer.

We also have to deal with the problems of contamination on 'organic' foods. Without using the same techniques we dread in growing and harvesting the other foods increases the chance of bacterial contamination in 'organic' food. You actually have a better chance of getting very sick from eating organically grown food as opposed to the unhealthier food. Typical of our choices in life. No matter which choice right or wrong, the consequences can be disastrous.

I have always seen the irony in the term 'organic.' Actually all food whether grown with pesticides, fertilizers, etc or not, is still organic. It however is just a marketing term.

If you have always lived in the city or suburbs and never really spent anytime on a rural farm the you ought to change that. One of the most peaceful experiences you can ever have is hanging around on a farm. Watch out for the fresh cowpiles though.


That is a great point Buz, It also reminded me of a problem in my part of the world. Some farms insist on being organic. Year after year they try to combat pests using the very limited certified organic oils and such to fight these pests. They very rarely work, you have to use them before there is a problem. This would be fine if these organic products were cost effective or if they are available to use more than a couple times a year. The problem is that they are not. So what happens is that these organic farms decide to say fuck it, we'll just keep on. They may have three or four acres... Now the real mess happens when this organic farms gets contaminated and the wind picks up and now its sending pest down wind to a 300 acre farm. Guess what? That 300 acre farm now has to do a new spray application to kill the best or risk heavy damage to their crop. A whole lot of money spent. A whole lot of chemicals being used. It sucks and it's frustrating.

There was also a quarantine in my area because of a pest from Chile that started appearing. The areas where they thrived and spread where organic farms, making the entire growing region spend way more than needed to combat this pest because some organic farms wouldn't cooperate. They needed help paying and blah blah blah. Costed everyone hella money and time.



cecilesfun
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 1:50:53 PM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 11/22/2011
Posts: 95
Location: Paris, France
Buz wrote:
You have wonder how much cancer is caused by the food we eat. Think of all the pesticides and unnatural fertilizer that is used, and the genetic alterations to agriculture. We are what we eat. I think preservative additives are one of the most dangerous factors in possible food caused cancer.

We also have to deal with the problems of contamination on 'organic' foods. Without using the same techniques we dread in growing and harvesting the other foods increases the chance of bacterial contamination in 'organic' food. You actually have a better chance of getting very sick from eating organically grown food as opposed to the unhealthier food. Typical of our choices in life. No matter which choice right or wrong, the consequences can be disastrous.

I have always seen the irony in the term 'organic.' Actually all food whether grown with pesticides, fertilizers, etc or not, is still organic. It however is just a marketing term.

If you have always lived in the city or suburbs and never really spent anytime on a rural farm the you ought to change that. One of the most peaceful experiences you can ever have is hanging around on a farm. Watch out for the fresh cowpiles though.



Hum ! I know this view !

What does not kill you makes you stronger
Magical_felix
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 3:10:34 PM

Rank: Wild at Heart

Joined: 4/3/2010
Posts: 4,908
Location: California
lafayettemister wrote:


Is the farmer's market target group the well off people or is that how the free market system led it to be? Did the local farmer's initially set up shop with friendlier hours for the masses? Maybe they lost money and produce and had to downsize/downscale and Tuesdays during working hours is when happened to work best. Farmers have family responibilities too.

I wonder if it were easier and less regulatory to get fresh local produce into area grocery stores, it would lead to more people buying locally? Problem is, the big factory farms don't want that because they know their product is inferior. So they play hard ball with all the chains and the chains keep the local farmer out. It's a vicious circle.

I'm very fortunate that this area has several Home Pickin's stands around the city. Fresh produce always available, but it is pricier. And they're open daily. Now we also have a Sunday once a month where we have access to fresh meat, salsas, jerky, and all kinds of other stuff. Man, that shit is good.


You know I'm not really sure if the chicken or the egg came first with the local farmer's market. But I do live in a touristy yuppy ass town. As long as I can remember though, it has always been tuesday morning and one look at the place would let you know that its fucking expensive. Its mostly chefs getting stuff for very expensive restaurants or housewives that are pretty well off shopping there. There are pick your own places but they are an hour away. My area isn't a good example of getting good produce this way. Its too expensive for most and is seen as a luxury as it is now.



Dirty_D
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 3:24:07 PM

Rank: Head Nurse

Joined: 4/15/2011
Posts: 7,218
Location: Soaking up the sun, United States
Magical_felix wrote:


You know I'm not really sure if the chicken or the egg came first with the local farmer's market. But I do live in a touristy yuppy ass town. As long as I can remember though, it has always been tuesday morning and one look at the place would let you know that its fucking expensive. Its mostly chefs getting stuff for very expensive restaurants or housewives that are pretty well off shopping there. There are pick your own places but they are an hour away. My area isn't a good example of getting good produce this way. Its too expensive for most and is seen as a luxury as it is now.


I frequent a lot of pick your own in different parts of the country and I frequently clean out the seconds bins. I use what I can as it is fresh and feed to the boys the rest( they require fresh fruits/veggies anyway)


Guest
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 3:26:17 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 537,425
My argument is strictly a biased one. I dislike big company dynamics in every form. Whether it's a dairy farm or freaking Wal-Mart. They ruin the small business by driving down prices and for ing the little guy out. It is just not right. This country was forged on the backs of the independent owners. The family run farms. We must not forget that.

Sadly economic times for e the consumer away from those traditional farms and into big company waiting arms. It's a horrible catch 22.
1curiouscat
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 6:48:08 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 4/25/2011
Posts: 1,144
Location: São Paulo , Brazil
I have spent all day looking the the books I own that have the information I provided. I could not find them, which really let me down. But in the end I consider it a bittersweet situation.

I came to the conclusion that this idea I had was in dire need of re-examination. I was using facts and arguments that I created while studying this stuff about 10 years ago!! I haven not taken the time to sit and rethink my opinions in a while over this issue. The answer is really not simple. There is no win / win. In the end its going to be a very fine line of give and take. There will have to be fundamental issues taken to the negotiation table. And I really have no clue what the best decision will be. Today I know a whole shit load more of the business side of the spectrum and realize some basic notions I held during my "disc-golfing" days were biased.

I appreciate all the input on this thread!



Overwhelming Reality

From Across the Room
elitfromnorth
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 7:02:25 PM

Rank: Brawling Berserker

Joined: 2/12/2012
Posts: 1,620
Location: Burrowed, Norway
It is simple. If you want cheap food then factory farms is the way to go. The quality will be lower, but there will be a larger production at a lower cost. If you want the typical family farm that has less of a factory look to it, then you're gonna have to pay.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I grew up on a farm, and being a farmer isn't a job. It's a lifestyle. It's not a job that you can leave at 4 in the afternoon and then head home to your appartment and do whatever it is you do. People aren't really aware of all the time that a farmer spends on tending to the animals, because it's not just dump some food in front of them and that's that, especially when it comes to the family style farm, because they are usually a whole lot more manual labour than automatic, simply because if you're gonna go more automatic in the feeding, milking and so forth of the animals the investments required to make it profitable are so huge that you have to go closer to the factory farm.

The prices you pay at the farmers market that you think are so expensive isn't necessarily because the farmer is a greedy fucker, it's because the farmer actually has to make a profit and for the farmer that runs the family style farm to make a living the prices has to be at the range they are. It's the standard businessmodel that you find in any company in the world.

People want the free range eggs, organic food and all that other crap, but when they realise what it actually costs they start complaining. It's the typical modern hypocrachy; we want the best and most ethical kind of food, but we're really not that willing to pay for it.

"It's at that point you realise Lady Luck is actually a hooker, and you're fresh out of cash."
Dirty_D
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 9:00:41 PM

Rank: Head Nurse

Joined: 4/15/2011
Posts: 7,218
Location: Soaking up the sun, United States
elitfromnorth wrote:
It is simple. If you want cheap food then factory farms is the way to go. The quality will be lower, but there will be a larger production at a lower cost. If you want the typical family farm that has less of a factory look to it, then you're gonna have to pay.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I grew up on a farm, and being a farmer isn't a job. It's a lifestyle. It's not a job that you can leave at 4 in the afternoon and then head home to your appartment and do whatever it is you do. People aren't really aware of all the time that a farmer spends on tending to the animals, because it's not just dump some food in front of them and that's that, especially when it comes to the family style farm, because they are usually a whole lot more manual labour than automatic, simply because if you're gonna go more automatic in the feeding, milking and so forth of the animals the investments required to make it profitable are so huge that you have to go closer to the factory farm.

The prices you pay at the farmers market that you think are so expensive isn't necessarily because the farmer is a greedy fucker, it's because the farmer actually has to make a profit and for the farmer that runs the family style farm to make a living the prices has to be at the range they are. It's the standard businessmodel that you find in any company in the world.

People want the free range eggs, organic food and all that other crap, but when they realise what it actually costs they start complaining. It's the typical modern hypocrachy; we want the best and most ethical kind of food, but we're really not that willing to pay for it.


Big Hugs


MrNudiePants
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 9:01:21 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/10/2009
Posts: 2,141
Location: United States
I grew up in the midwest. One of the issues nobody has touched on yet concerns the fact that many of the small, family farms have actually gone out of business because of the actions of the farmers themselves. Over and over, I've seen farmland passed down from older generations to younger ones, only to have the kids mortgage the farm to buy nice toys. Where their grandfathers and fathers farmed conservatively, their kids willingly went into hock for hundreds of thousands of dollars of new equipment. The new equipment didn't allow them to farm their land any better - only faster. This tied the kids to the land, but not in a good way. They could no longer risk having a "bad" year. They lived the agrarian version of paycheck-to-paycheck. One year too wet, or too dry, and they were wiped out. They couldn't make their mortgage payments, and the banks foreclosed.

Once you saw your neighbor lose his farm to the bank, it made you even more determined to do whatever it took to keep yours. Chemicals? Sure. Genetically engineered seeds? Of course. Suppliers have been touting new hybrid strains of crops for decades. Whatever it takes to keep the farm.

What happens to the fertile farmland that the banks now own? Bank presidents are not farmers. They have assets and when they need cash, they divest themselves of those assets. At that point, does it really matter who buys the land? I have relatives that work several parcels of corporate farmland in addition to their own. They're happy for the income, happy to shed some of the risk of being a "family" farmer. They know that being a paid employee mitigates the risk that a bad year can cause them to lose their own farms. All that high-priced equipment that allowed them to farm their land so much faster is finally paying for itself, as they now farm twice the acreage.

And when does this whole conversation come around to talking about the government subsidies and artificial price supports for farmers who grow cash crops? Back in the old days, people who grew food were primarily subsistence farmers. They grew food to support themselves, and feed their families. Anything left over was sold in those "farmers' markets" that are so rare these days. When farmers realized that they could grow singular crops just for cash, and use the money to buy those things their families needed, didn't they then become "factory" farmers? Once they stopped farming for their own subsistence, didn't they become corporate farmers, using the land like a factory, to produce a single product? When the farmers had a bumper crop, simple economics demanded that the price dropped - couldn't have that, so the government stepped in to regulate the price of their crops, keeping it artificially high. And when the farmers had a bad year, again simple economics demanded that a less abundant supply should drive the price up. But consumers demanded that the government "do something" about the high cost of food. More regulations, and less free economy.

Do we, as consumers want lower-priced food? Hell, yeah! Do farmers want higher-prices for their crops? Hell, yeah!

We like to point to complex issues and try and make them simple. "It's the eeeeeevil corporations like Monsanto that are to blame..." But don't forget that the Monsanto that made Agent Orange for the military during Viet Nam is the same Monsanto that got it's start making aspirin and was a leading developer for the plastics industry, and pioneered LED technology - heck, you can't even find an electronic device today that doesn't have at least one LED in it somewhere.

It's a big, complicated world, and even though it's getting smaller, it ain't getting any less complicated, and our problems ain't getting any easier to solve.

Dirty_D
Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 8:22:53 AM

Rank: Head Nurse

Joined: 4/15/2011
Posts: 7,218
Location: Soaking up the sun, United States
LadyX wrote:
Buz and others are right that given the world's food challenges, non-organic high-volume food production is probably inevitable, though I'd be hopeful and open about a counterpoint to that. The mass-production vegetables, fruits, beef, dairy, chicken, pork, etc. (factory farmed food) is shitty, devoid of the nutrients that occur in nature, and chock full of all kinds of stuff that doesn't occur in nature (some of which alter our chemistry). I don't know how much of that is necessary to keep their volumes up and their costs low.

Then there are the practices of companies like Monsanto. It's companies like these that make people distrust corporate culture with no hope of re-earning that trust. There's a handful of organizations that I believe to be deserving of some forms of eco-terrorism. A couple of them are Agri- and Meat-processing corporations like Monsanto and Tyson.


I'm sorry, but I think that terrorism in ANY of its forms must be unacceptable. I know that many of the 'videos' created for the internet to 'expose' the horrible practices of various industries are created by those who are being paid to create them. The HSUS is worse even then PETA. Thankfully there are states still supporting farmers and their rights!

Iowa


LadyX
Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 8:28:04 AM

Rank: Artistic Tart

Joined: 9/25/2009
Posts: 4,827
Well, I don't want anyone killed or anything. But companies like Monsanto are on record for their acts of corporate sociopathy. It's not just propaganda.

Fuck'em. I wish them bankruptcy and whatever can cause it.
MissyLuvsYa
Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 8:37:31 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 543
Location: somewhere on the coast, United States
I think corporations are like people, some are immoral and corrupt while some have principles. It depends upon their leadership.

I do think that sadly the days of the corporate farms are here. Some family farms may survive but probably not very many. That is very sad.
Magical_felix
Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 11:30:09 AM

Rank: Wild at Heart

Joined: 4/3/2010
Posts: 4,908
Location: California
LadyX wrote:
Well, I don't want anyone killed or anything. But companies like Monsanto are on record for their acts of corporate sociopathy. It's not just propaganda.

Fuck'em. I wish them bankruptcy and whatever can cause it.


Monsanto. Did you know that you can buy seeds from them, plant them, spend all the time and money growing your crops BUT you can't use the seeds from your crops because Monsanto owns those. Have you ever heard of such a thing? That's like buying a couple dogs from a breeder and if they mate and have a puppy then the puppy belongs to the breeder, or you can pay the breeder for the puppy even though the breeder didn't do shit.





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