Saturday, April 3, 2010

Family Owned Means Family Farm

In rural Missouri there lives a family, this family has a farm. The farm on which this family lives has quite a few large barns. These barns are home to lots of pigs and these pigs are corporate owned. The building on the farm that's owned by the family is classified as...a CAFO.

The screams of discontent are already echoing through my computer's monitor. But before you click out of this blog let me just say with a big ol' grin, welcome to the Bacon Blogger, stick around and you just might learn something.

I am the Bacon Blogger and I am here to try and give the other side of the story. Yes, we have a corporate contract. Yes, we raise our pigs in a climate controled building with automated feeding and watering systems. Because of this are we still "real" farmers? According to the vast majority of the animal activists and those who adamantly support them we are not "real" farmers. Really? That's news to me. Then, what exactly have we been doing every day with these pigs and tractors?

Obviously, I can't speak for every farmer out there nor can I speak for every CAFO out there but I can tell you this, don't believe everything you read. One of the many misconceptions about this type of operation is that all CAFOs are corporate owned and migrant workers slave away in brutal conditions. Not true. Given, there are some corporations that buy the land, build the building, and hire workers (mostly locals) to take care of the livestock; BUT (and as you can see from the caps lock that's a big but), there are also companies that go directly to the farmer (a really real farmer) instead of just buying them out. Some companies, like the one we go through, keep families farming. The farmer still owns the land and the building, the only thing on this farm that is not the property of our family are the pigs however we care for them, no one else.

"What!?" You might be asking, "You mean the people who own the buildings aren't just a bunch of greedy, tycoon shareholders that rape the profit from the working man?"

It's true. Yet another CAFO misconception. Without our barns this family farm would not have been able to grow from 80 acres to over 500 acres and this farm would not have been able to provide jobs and financial support to four separate households, all of which are family. However, despite all this there are still people out there that claim we are not a family farm nor are we "real" farmers.

As stated before, I can't speak for everyone but I can speak for our farm. Just as not every vegan is a radical activist willing to kill for what they believe in, CAFOs are not animal warehouses filled with disgruntled swine. We DO NOT abuse our animals and we DO NOT "spray them down daily with antibiotics" (yes I've actually read that one). What we do do is care for these animals and keep them healthy. That is no easy task, either. We work seven days a week to keep this ship afloat and if that's not real farming then I don't know what is. These animals are our livelihood, not one family but four families livelihoods, we can't afford to mistreat our animals nor do we want to.

Bottom line, before you judge a CAFO why don't you try learning about a real CAFO from a real farmer.

I am the Bacon Blogger and we are real farmers.

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