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Andy and Randy, I understand your concerns and you do have many valid points, but there are some miss-conceptions also that bigger is bad.
I will start out by saying that my father and I run a small farm that was started by my grandfather on land bought from his father, so I am fourth generation on this land with the fifth growing up before my eyes ( too fast!!). We run a small beef herd and to remain small we have to salvage tractors ( which is fun any way), cut wood(not so fun), and do whatever else we can to earn a meager living. We remain small because that is our choice. If we were to become truly "full time" farmers we would have to expand greatly to earn the same living, and this year would have been a loss because of border closures etc. That is one reason we remain small, to diversify.
That said, bigger is the reason that consumers are able to buy their food at the prices they are in the grocery store. If you compare the value of todays dollar to the 1940's, you pay less for all of your foodstuffs now than then, meanwhile all of the input costs have raised for the farmer.
Farmers also have to contend with the added rural population, less ground is available to grow more food than was ever grown in the history of north america, so more productive methods are needed.
Farmers have a greater stake in the environment than most other groups in north america, and most act accordingly, but as with other bussinesses/groups, it is the bad seeds that get the press. People in general, including farmers, are now more aware of the environmental impacts of the actions we take, and, for the most part, are taking steps to correct past damage and improve methods for the future fo rthe good of all.
The financial cost of protecting the environment "for the good of all" tends to fall to the landowner/ farmer. If it benifits all, "all" should face up to the financial reality!
Many of the so-called "factory farms" are in reallity nothing more than full time farm family farms. The fact is that it requires a large amount of product, be it beef, eggs, milk, vegitables, or whatever food, to make a living for a farm family. I do concede that the large corporations are pushing out the small family farm, but there are still a lot of us left. The family farm has changed greatly over the years but so has every thing else, would you expect farms to remain in the dark ages while all other sectors take advantage of what modern technolegy has to offer? Would you expect accountants to use a slate and abbicus? Of course not!! Farming has to be allowed the same opportunities.
For one example, hormone implanted beef. The growth hormones implanted into beef are naturally occuring bovine hormones in elevated levels, the primary being estrogen. There is more estrogen, naturally ocuuring, in cabbage than in implanted beef!!! I use this example because it is a product that I am familiar with. Another would be the GMO bug-less potatoes, a product driven off the market by public ignorance. Natural potatoe are alkiline. The potatoe bug has an alkiline digestive system, so is compatible to the potatoe plant as a food source. The GMO potatoes were changed so as to be slightly acidic. This interfered with the potatoe bugs digestion and made these plants unattractive to the potatoe bug. Simple and pesticide free, a good thing for the environment that was lost because the public wasn't educated about how it worked, or the possible positive implications for the environment!
Of course there are other examples good and bad about the dirrection of agriculture, but my fingers are tired.:D

I don't intend to offend any one, but I felt that the other side should have their input as well, and I hope that all take this in the spirit of info exchange and good will that is intended.

Thanks for the cahnce to rant. ;)
 

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Red-n-green had some excellent insight, and I agree whole-heartedly with him on groups like PETA. Animal rights groups( not to be misstaken for animal welfare) say that animals should be EQUAL to humans!! I beleive that animals should be treated humanely, with clean food and water, comfortable living conditions, and as stress-free as possible. This is also the most economical way to keep animals!! Any one with experience will tell you that a good farmer takes care of his animals, or they won't take care of him!! ( That's a line I use with my kids a lot , especially if they're whining about having to feed the animals before we eat).
Andy, I have to admit that I didn't read all of both articles:hide: , sorry. I am sure that there are many that don't follow the accepted guidelines/standards, and in my opinion they should be penalized, but like I said, big isn't always bad.
 
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