J500 Media and the Environment


Farming Practices Transition Over Time by jackiemcc

I have relatives who have farms in Iowa. They have always been a part of our family’s traditions. It was a tradition for me, my sister and my cousin to go visit one of the farms, and spend a weekend riding horses. On the other farm, we always used to have family reunions down there. It has been an important part of my family, almost like a bonding experience. It is a way for us to all come together.

My first instinct of the quote “Farming is for the rich and the desperate” was that it was untrue. I say this because farming, from my experiences at least, seems to be more like a family practice. A lot of the farmers I know have been farmers because the farm has been in the family for awhile, and they want to keep it going. They do it because they want to, and it’s something they enjoy. They are average-day citizens, and many of them don’t have a ton of money.

It also didn’t make sense to me that rich people would farm because they are desperate; I don’t even know what they would be desperate for. If they are desperate to say they grow their own food, I think they would opt out for paying someone else to grow their own food for them.

The transformation of farming.

However, after thinking about it for awhile, I realize that my philosophy is old fashioned. As technology has improved, big corporations are starting to take over the farming industry, and now own a majority of the industry. As a result, many of the family farms are going out of business.

I can understand how now the trend is that “farming IS for the rich and the desperate.”  The only thing the corporations care about are the profits, so they produce much more than the average family farmer does. And because of this, their profits do increase, but at what expense? Farm Sanctuary says that the industrial farming techniques harm animals, humans, and the environment.

So is it too late to change these practices? Some think the only way to produce enough for everybody is through industrial/corporation farming. Others think that the local food trend is just starting to take off, and it will become strong enough to save family farming. The Sustainable Table website I mentioned earlier describes these beliefs. They mention ways in which you can help save these family farms.

Personally, I don’t think family farms can last much longer. The farming corporations obviously have a large impact on the farming industry, and I think they will eventually take it all over, or almost all of it. People are concerned about money these days, and I think the major corporations will do whatever it takes to get that. In addition, I don’t think the amount of food family farms can produce is enough to feed everyone. Unfortunately it’s sad, but it’s reality.

-Jackie McClellan

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4 Comments so far
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Jackie,
Do you think having a number of small farms even within a city could help this problem of feeding the masses? Also, what do you think about family run farms, but ones that only produce one crop, for example? Are they adding to the negative trend?
–Ben P.

Comment by bpirotte

Ben-
You bring up some very good questions I didn’t think of before. I think having a number of small farms within a city might help feed the masses, but I’m not certain that it will help feed everyone. I think it could make a significant impact on feeding that particular city, but I’m not sure it could help in the overall scheme of things. It might be something to try though!

I’ve never really thought about the family farms that produce only one crop before. I mean, I don’t see any harm in them if they are producing for the masses. I would be interested to hear about any harm producing one crop my have, but I can’t think of any myself. If they are producing the same amount as they would with a variety of crops, then I don’t see any harm. I’m open to other ideas though!
Thanks for the comment!
-Jackie M.

Comment by jackiemcc

Jackie,

What did your family farm? How do they feel about large, corporate farms? -Kristina B.

Comment by kristinabev

Kristina-
I’m not entirely sure what they all farmed. My grandmother’s brother was the main farmer, but he has since passed away many years ago. I was very young when he was farming it. I’m pretty sure they had many animals, and they have a silo so I can imagine corn or something, as for the specifics I am not sure. Since he passed away some of our other relatives have taken over it, but they don’t do nearly as much farming as he did. They have some animals.

I actually haven’t had a chance to ask them about how they feel about large, corporate farms. That would be an interesting topic to bring up at the next family reunion down there!
-Jackie M.

Comment by jackiemcc




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