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What is Modern Agriculture?

January 8, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAModern agriculture is diverse. From farm to farm, and often within the farm, the often repeated ‘facts’ aren’t all what they seem. Andrew Gunther has a Huffington Post where he regularly points out what other farms are doing ‘wrong’ and points the solution of buying from Animal Welfare Approved places, of which he’s in that organization that certifies farms to their requirements of humane.

When I wrote A Look at Agriculture it was so that those people out there who ‘just eat’ could get a peek at what is going on at our farms. (Kindle here). But there are so many terms tossed around by the media,  and by people using the terms without a full understanding of the regulation behind it, in some cases, perception. Some of these include organic, sustainable, natural, grass fed, big ag, factory farm, corporate agriculture…ack!

I hear many saying “we just want safe food we can afford!” And we agree! But beyond that, I get irritated by the meant to be insulting digs at modern agriculture. As my friend Ryan Goodman said on a discussion about local food, “Farmers like my family should not be looked down upon because we do what is best for our future, our land, livestock, or even business.”

It might be a surprise to many that our people-to-turn-to-for-advice list includes a large scale hog farmer, organic operations, “just eat” folks (perception and comments are a big asset to us!) and those in other parts of agriculture. So when I hear condemnation of “modern farms” I bristle. When I see people who equate modern agriculture with cruelty, pollution and other negativity I must speak up.

Today’s modern agriculture offers you the consumer more choices than ever before. It’s choices you say you want – from cost conscious supermarket foods to “heat and eat” meals to, yes, organic and small operations like us. Modern agriculture provides not just hogs, cattle, corn, soybeans and chickens. It’s also cotton, rabbits, compost, molasses, lettuce, peppers, herbs, aquaculture, hydroponics and much, much more. Even Wikipedia has classifications:

Modern agriculture may refer to:

We are united in providing food choices. We have an interest in the environmental preservation, arguably OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmore so than suburban neighbors! We see our land as too precious to buy disposable goods and the tons of garbage buried in landfills because it has to go “away” from where people live. We are aware that contamination of water supplies affects those of us living out here, many on wells, first. We balance keeping costs reasonable so that you, the consumer, have choices be it rabbit or lower cost confinement raised pork, be it bulk oatmeal or small farm tomatoes. It takes all of us to set the table, and modern agriculture must provide all of it! Modern agriculture has never offered so many choices, and yet there are still many who criticize. Modern agriculture also includes urban agriculture – another food choice!

As always, we encourage people to make food choices. Don’t just settle for what’s available…if you want that *choose* it because it’s convenient but be honest about doing that. Some criticize the farmers that provide that choice, as well as those who have choices like we provide.

Food choices mean farm choices. Never underestimate that!

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