Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska
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Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska

What’s this Factory Farm Business?

April 18, 2012Farmers and Ranchers, General Ag

Almost all of us have heard the words “Factory Farming” before.  It gets used a lot these days by groups who oppose modern agriculture, and unfortunately these words have now trickled down to the consumer. Groups that oppose modern agriculture use these words to portray agriculture as an industry that is full of pollutants, and an industry that doesn’t care about the land or the animals and is only concerned about profits. These groups also believe that technology doesn’t belong in agriculture. They suggest that modern agriculture today is like a factory and that farming should return to how it was back in the 30’s, where everything was done by hand.

While their argument can be interesting, it is far from the truth. How can I say that one may ask? First, when I think of the word factory, I think of large buildings with smoke stacks and a gloomy sky. However, I have never seen this on a farm nor does it come to my mind when I think of farms. When I think of farming, I think of the family farmers who take care of both the land and their animals, and who work hard to feed a growing population. I think of farmers who are using new technologies, such as GM crops, to help conserve our resources for future generations. I think of the farmers who use housing to protect their animals from brutal weather conditions and also from predators. What I see farmers doing is trying to be innovative in the way food is produced for the growing world population. I mean, isn’t America all about innovation?

So the word use of “Factory Farms” is nonsense in my opinion from the fact that factory farms don’t exist. What do exist are farms who are family owned. These farmers do care for the land and their animals.  Not only are these farmers caring for their land and animals, but they care about their local communities. They are involved in local organizations and many of them make donations to support local projects. So next time you hear or see the words “factory farming”, think about what I just said, and if factory farming means being innovative in smart ways, then it must be a compliment instead of criticism.