Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Factory Farming?????

Yesterday the topic of Larry King's show was the safety of our food. I have to admit that I did not see the show, but I did engage in chat on his website. Over and over mentions of "factory farms" were made and they were blamed for the ills of food safety.

The term "factory farm" is one of the favorite propaganda phrases used over and over by groups such as HSUS and PETA. Make no mistake this is a play on words meant to sway the tide of public opinion and is used to present a negative image of some of our most conscientious family farms.

Often the farms mentioned as factory farms are pork and poultry producers. I have visited many such operations and they are the farthest thing from a factory. Most of our farms are family operations. Each farm is operated by men and women who truly care for the livestock on that farm and do everything they can to insure the health and well-being of their animals. The animals are checked on a regular basis, their nutrition is carefully taken care of and they live in a climate controlled environment free of the stresses of nature. In short, the animals on a modern livestock farm have every need taken care of.

The other criticism I often hear is about the danger they pose to the environment. I can also tell you this is absolutely not true. I work with these producers on a regular basis and I am a neighbor to one. They are the most heavily regulated group in agriculture, but that is not why they take care of our natural resources. They take care of the land because that is what farmers and ranchers do. They have nutrient management plans designed by consultants paid for by the farmer. Every bit of animal waste is caught and accounted for and it is used as fertilizer often replacing petroleum based man-made fertilizers. They simply do not and cannot make mistakes when it comes to the land and water that we all share.

I hope this sheds some light on the family farms that are often maligned by those who would like to remove meat from your dinner plate. I hope you will become more educated about modern livestock farms. Come to think of it, don't take my word for it, give a local farmer a call and talk with them about their farm.

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