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belarus
Senior Contributor

Farmers getting along

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Is the future of farming that rural communities will pit farmer classes (large specialized/hobby/niche/etc) against each other?  Does it really matter what the others are doing?  It seems like famers as a whole want to see other groups fail so they can feel better.  In the past they would have did anything for each other.  Now, it just seems like they want to rip each other apart.  That is sad.

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jec22
Veteran Contributor

Re: Farmers getting along

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Well, it might help if magazines would sometimes choose a farmer with less than 750 acres to be the 'top producer", instead of the guy with 20,000.

http://www.agweb.com/article/2010_Top_Producer_of_the_Year_Donny_DeLine_193140/

 

Because, frankly, if you have to have that many acres to achieve success, there is something out of wack.  Maybe I am way too old school, but I would much rather see twenty farmers farming 1000 acres or less, than one doing 20,000.  But the bankers must love him.  There are so many good young men that would like to farm and are willing to work side jobs or whatever to farm, but will never have a chance with these mega farms.  Those are young men that would raise their families in our rural communities and school also.  It is America, so they have every right to be mega big, but it doesn't mean I admire them.

 

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TEvans3970944
Contributor

Re: Farmers getting along

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Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black Greg?  Haven't you been the biggest bashers of hog confinement units in the past?  Turning over a new leaf?

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belarus
Senior Contributor

Re: Farmers getting along

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Yes, I've turned over a new leaf.  I'm convinced that my poultry, my non-seasonal pork production, and especially my very small scale processing is not competitive at all to conventional products.  I'm not the confinement guy's enemy.  I've always been a fan that the marketplace and not regulations should decide. 98-99% will never choose mine based on price alone.  READ THIS NEXT SENTANCE BECAUSE ITS IMPORTANT because in a way I'm not turning over a new leaf! You will have never found me associated with any activity calling for more regulations on CAFOS or any activities trying to stop CAFOS being built.  And I had plenty of chances and always turned them down saying I think the marketplace should decide how our food is raised.

I just don't like the attitude that we are all in this together that is unless you aren't a CAFO and then well we won't go into the rest. 

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Farmers getting along

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My point in this discussion is - and pretty much always has been: It is wrong to market based upon striking fear into people.  

Farmers who are producing by "alternative" means have no prayer at present of even marginally meeting food needs of this nation, much less others that are very dependent upon us, especially for protein. 

There is no way that a family living on an average "living wage" can buy boutique meats and produce.  As even liberal media like Newsweek will admit... Whole Foods Market has been nicknamed "Whole Paycheck" for a reason. 

Food safety is top priority in our production pyramids.  USDA inspectors stand over our harvest and processing constantly.  And, these measures are conducted at a very competitive price. 

My most "foodie" friends, who have dined all over the world, will admit that conventional products have their place.  When they have to feed a crowd, the beef, pork or chicken will come straight from Sam's Club, and so will the sides. 

To me, the main issues of food quality are preparation and preservation.  It is what we add to foodstuffs to make them last or alter their taste, that makes them either "good" or "bad" for us. 

Again, when cost is part of the equation - and for most American families, food costs are still a significant part of the family budget - no one has yet shown me any economic model that replaces conventional production. 

In that respect, the marketplace speaks every day: Not very many people can afford niche, specialty foodstuffs on anything resembling a routine basis.   Those who cannot do not have the luxury of entering suspended animation. 

We have to feed everone every day.  The droves of people necessary to reconstruct American agriculture to a pre-WW II state (prior to widespread chemicalization of crop cultural practices) - if that is the goal - may be sitting and drawing unemployment at present, but I don't believe many of them would sign up to pick beans or pluck chickens by hand.  Just my guess, but I think it's a safe one for now. 

smokeyjay
Senior Contributor

Re: Farmers getting along

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Agreed, Kay.  Good observations. 

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belarus
Senior Contributor

Re: Farmers getting along

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Kay, except for the plucking chickens by hand part, I agree with everything you say.   We are one of the smallest federally inspected chicken processors in the country and we wouldn't think of plucking chickens by hand.  I don't know of any operations doing birds by hand.  We do about 8 birds a minute.  We approach 40 birds/per person/per hour.  That is good at our level but doesn't cut it in this day and age.  And American's don't want to work on local food farms any more than they do on large commodity farms.  If we were relying on Americans to put the food on the table most Americans would starve!

    Your whole post is the point I'm trying to make.  Me, Greg, personally is not the enemy.  I'm not advocating in any way, shape, or form that your style of pig production be put out of business.   I'm also saying you don't need any more regulations.  I'd personally rather see the 98 or 99 of the domestic consumption purchased on price alone to at least be produced domestically.  In a way, we are in this together as Americans because I can see the writing on the wall that we are down to the last generation of domestic pig production via your chosen method of production.  Just like I can't compete against the status quo for processing and distrubition CAFO's in the US can't compete against Mexico, South America, or Asian systems.  Its just the reality of the situation.  Then, those same people shouldn't or shouldn't be forced to pay more for domestically raised pork?

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wt510151
Senior Contributor

Re: Farmers getting along

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Fear and greed have been and will be always part of the market. Fear of not having enough product or wages. Greed of getting a bit more profits with less. Advertising is based on touching the senses: taste, smell, vision, touch, and hearing. It is also based on emotions, including fear. That is why processed meats, such as bacon, is cryo-vacuumed to prevent the color change associated with spoilage and disease. 

Greg's advertising may be based on fear, but your theory that "we have to feed the world every day," is based on guilt. Who made this country the parent of all countries citizens that cannot feed themselves? Where is the pull yourselves up by your bootstraps attitude you show on WIA page? Even if we produced enough to feed all people on this planet, there will still be vermin (four-legged and two-legged) taking from those that cannot defend themselves. Who should be responsible for providing a system so that no one will starve, armies or overabundance?

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belarus
Senior Contributor

Re: Farmers getting along

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I've never understood the typical farmer mentality that we have to overproduce in order to make sure the world is fed.  We have way too many calories available for the consumer right now and we would all be better off if that was more in balance.  Name a business, short of commodity farmers, that think overproducing is a good thing?  Farmers are there own worst enemy and I guess I take it as a complement to not fit in.

And I don't think my marketing is based on fears.  I sell a fresher product that just simply tastes better.  The typical food production track on pork leaves a lot of holes for small players that can do a much better job on many levels especially breed and freshness/time to end consumer.  I'm just saying there is a cost to being able to provide that service.  Food in the grocery store is cheap but it doesn't taste like real food should taste.  I don't think you will find very many farmers that disagree with that last statement.

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jec22
Veteran Contributor

Re: Farmers getting along

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Well, it might help if magazines would sometimes choose a farmer with less than 750 acres to be the 'top producer", instead of the guy with 20,000.

http://www.agweb.com/article/2010_Top_Producer_of_the_Year_Donny_DeLine_193140/

 

Because, frankly, if you have to have that many acres to achieve success, there is something out of wack.  Maybe I am way too old school, but I would much rather see twenty farmers farming 1000 acres or less, than one doing 20,000.  But the bankers must love him.  There are so many good young men that would like to farm and are willing to work side jobs or whatever to farm, but will never have a chance with these mega farms.  Those are young men that would raise their families in our rural communities and school also.  It is America, so they have every right to be mega big, but it doesn't mean I admire them.

 

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Kay/NC
Advisor

Re: Farmers getting along

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I do not think we should have to feed to world, but the fact is that now in many ways we do. 

When we lose food security as a nation, we will be done for.

In the meantime, we do manage some of what good will we have left through food assistance to other nations.  Simply abandoning that position would be unspeakably cruel, if no other contingency plans are made. 

Having been a mother with three small children, I felt really bad if their meals were delayed for an hour or so, and they got hungry.  I cannot imagine what it feels like to watch your babies starve. 

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