Monday, May 10, 2010

Food Production of all Kinds

Tonight we had fried chicken for supper. It was not just any run of the mill chicken but one we raised on our farm. I know the chickens we raise taste much better than the chicken we can buy in the store. This was also the thought we had when we started directly marketing our beef. We are sure we raise a superior product to the one you can buy in the store.

Lately much has been made of the regional food craze, it seems everyone wants to buy local food. I agree that locally raised food is often better quality and fresher than the produce and meat we buy in our stores. Groups outside of agriculture have also jumped on this bandwagon and are effectively driving a wedge between smaller producers and larger farmers.

As a producer who both markets locally and grows commodities, I am here to tell you that it should not be that way. While producers who sell their product locally fill an import place in the food production chain, we still need to produce food in large quantities to feed an ever-growing world population. It is impossible for us to produce all the food needed even for our own nation locally. Modern agriculture production methods have allowed us to feed 155 people and ourselves and to meet the future demand we must constantly increase this count.

Groups such as HSUS would have you believe that food grown on large modern farms are unhealthy and bad for the environment. Conversely, these groups would have you believe food you buy at local farmer's markets or directly from the producer is much healthier. This is simply not true. The food you purchase from the supermarket is just as wholesome and healthy as the food purchased directly from the source.

The truth is that we need both kinds of agriculture production. The producers who sell their products locally are our bridge to the consumer. The consumer gets to know real live producers. The product is fresher and it can be argued that it is higher quality. However, it is also more expensive and not available to all consumers. Those who live in big cities or in climates not good for food production rely on food from other sources. In short, if you can afford locally grown food and have access to it, more power to you.

However, the truth is that most of the world's population rely on our modern farmers and ranchers to produce the food found in supermarkets. This food is safe, wholesome and affordable. It is produced in a manner that is sustainable to the environment. The world needs large, modern farms to feed its growing population.

What I want you to know is that all farmers and ranchers both small or large, those who sell locally or those who sell in quantity, all care about the people they feed and the environment they live in. We should celebrate all types of food production, our world needs all the food we can grow it.

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