As a college student with two agricultural majors, I witness injustices to the world of agriculture every single day that many people don't even notice. My job as an agricultural communicator is to inform people of their incorrect judgements and counteract the falsities that exist within our common media outlets. I am so passionate about letting people know what agriculture is really about that I would shout it from the rooftops if it were socially acceptable (and if there were higher rooftops where I'm from). So now I'm going to tell all of you the truth about agriculture.
Let's start out with a statistic: family owned farms account for about 97 percent of all farms in the United States. This means that most of the farmers in our country live and work on land that has been in their families for multiple generations. They are not all huge corporations with no respect for anything except money like the media portrays them. In fact, almost none of them are like that. A lot of these family owned and operated farms are small, and small does not mean unimportant. "Small" farms are defined as any farmland under 150 acres. In case you haven't noticed, 150 acres is still a lot of land. Often times these "small" farms are what provide fresh produce and other local products to your town or city. Still think they aren't important?
Now I should probably address the subject of animal treatment. People in agriculture always have one answer for this. I agree with them, I have seen it all over, and I'll repeat it: The videos and processes that are shown in the media of animal cruelty are isolated incidents. Sure, they're horrible, but they aren't widespread. It's comparable to a few doctors being sued for malpractice and the world accusing all doctors of the same crime. It just doesn't make sense. If farmers everywhere treated their animals in the cruel ways that those videos show, we wouldn't have any products from these animals. Animals under stress do not produce well and do not keep producing. You can't get milk from a dead cow, so why would a farmer purposely harm his animals? The answer is that he wouldn't. In fact, most farmers are well acquainted with their animals, and sometimes even treat them like pets.
The last big topic I should address is the cost of food and the science behind it. Our food prices are some of the best in the world. The United States has surprisingly cheap food for the economic pit that we're still in, and no one seems to notice that or compare our prices to other countries. In this country, about seven percent of our income goes to buying food, whereas in other countries the cost of food can vary anywhere from 14 to 22 percent of a person's income. Also, the cost of food is not driven by farmers, so there is no reason for the vast majority of people to accuse farmers of being the reason for higher food prices. Farmers make a fraction of what you pay at the grocery store, and the rest of your money goes to paying for things like transportation, processing, and labor fees. Because of this fact, many farmers struggle, as the costs of production are often higher than the profit made in a year.
I'm not trying to change the world's views in one big famous article, because that is not how it works. What I aim to do is change a few views on agriculture and light a fire within those people to tell others about their newfound education. I know that we won't all agree, but you can know at least know the facts before you make judgements about a lifestyle you aren't familiar with, right?