Agriculture and Farming are the backbone of this world – without em’ we’d starve. So why do so many people want to pass along lies and myths about the industry that keeps them fed? In honor of National Ag week, we’re setting the record straight on the industry we love.
(DISCLAIMER: The below post is a generalization of the top things we hear about the Ag industry that are not true. Should you disagree or want to know more about any of these statements, we welcome you to research more on each topic. We have included several sources from the USDA to Bloggers that can be found in the comments section to help with that. )
1. The Myth – All Farms are large, corporate Farms. The Truth – 97 percent of all farms are family owned and run. Don’t let the names of some fool you, just because they are incorporated does not mean they are a corporation. These families live and work on this land that has, in many cases, been in their family for generations. (source: http://findourcommonground.com/food-facts/corporate-farms/)
2. The Myth – Farmers don’t care about their animals. The Truth – people claiming Farmers don’t care about their animals couldn’t be further from the truth. Farmers do what they need, when the animals need it to make sure they are taken care of. Between staying up all night to tend to a calving heifer to making sure they’re fed and the water isn’t frozen when the temperature is in the negative – animals are cared for like they are family and for good reason – they pretty much are. (good read: http://dairycarrie.com/2013/12/09/cowabuse/)
3. The Myth – Farmers don’t care about the environment. The Truth – With the newest technology and latest advances, Farmers are able to use less fertilizer and chemicals, while producing more. Additionally, the land is the Farmer’s resource, livelihood and future – why would they want to compromise it?
4. The Myth – Small Farms are not important. The Truth – small farms (up to 150 acres) are the backbone of the Ag industry. Small Farms allow for people to get locally produced food and maintain a personal relationship with the Farmer. (Source: http://kissmytractor.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/top-10-agriculture-myths/)
5. The Myth – Farmers are uneducated. The Truth – Not only do they have the job of Farming, the must also be mechanics, weathermen, veterinarians, business men & women, the marketers, scientists and so much more. Long gone are the days of relying on old farm wisdom and how people have always done it. Times have changed as have the duties and required knowledge of being a Farmer.
6. The Myth – All Farmers are rich. The Truth – Farmers don’t farm for the money, they do it because they love it. That’s not to say that there aren’t Farmers out there that are rich but a few does not equal a whole. Farmers farm because they love the lifestyle, they know there is no better way to raise kids than on a farm or they know it is truly the most important profession out there. Whatever the reason may be, it sure isn’t for the money. (source: http://www.usda.gov/documents/FARM_FAMILY_INCOME.pdf)
7. The Myth – Meat from the grocery store is filled with hormones that are unnatural and unhealthy for people. The Truth – Meats from the store have some of the strictest regulations of any industry. Before a cow can be cleared to be slaughtered, they must test to make sure that any antibiotics or hormones have completely passed through their system. Additionally, many other foods naturally contain hormone levels thousands of times higher than those found in dairy and meat products. (http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/safetyhealth/productsafetyinformation/ucm055436.htm)
For example 4 oz. beef from steer given hormones has 1.6 nanograms of estrogen while 4 oz. beef from untreated steer has 1.2 nanograms of estrogen. Compare this to 4 oz. raw cabbage has 2700 ng estrogen and the average soy latte (one cup of soymilk) has 30,000 nanograms of estrogen (source: realfarmersrealfood.com)
8. The Myth – Farmers directly pocket money they make from crops and livestock. The Truth – many people seem to think that food prices are driven by what the Farmer wants to charge stores so that they make as much money as possible. However, only about 15-16 cents goes to the Farmer – the rest goes to paying things such as transportation, labor, processing etc. Unfortunately, many of the the direct and indirect costs that farmers face, such as insurance or feed, are not as easily covered. (source: http://kissmytractor.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/top-10-agriculture-myths/)
9. The Myth – Food costs too much. The Truth – Our food prices are some of the most affordable and abundant in the world. For a quick comparison, American’s food cost makes up about 6.7 percent of our incomes. In comparison, Japan was 14 percent; China was 21.3 percent; and India a staggering 51 percent. How’s that for affordable food? (source: http://kissmytractor.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/top-10-agriculture-myths/)…….(http://wsm.wsu.edu/researcher/WSMaug11_billions.pdf)
10. The Myth – There’s no future in Agriculture. The Truth – the best future is in Agriculture. Not only are the numbers of graduates with degrees in an Ag-related field growing, so too are the numbers of young Farmers getting out on the farms.
Don’t forget to thank your Farmer, three times a day, everyday.