According to Merriam-Webster, by definition, a farm is a piece of land used for growing crops or raising animals. A factory is a building or group of buildings where products are made. By definition a factory farm is a farm on which large numbers of livestock are raised indoors in conditions intended to maximize production at minimal cost. No where in these definitions does is say anything about animal abuse, causing harm to the environment, or effecting your health. Thanks to Farm Sanctuary, under their Learn tab (good joke), they describe factory farms as, “Factory farms dominate U.S. food production, employing abusive practices that maximize agribusiness profits at the expense of the environment, our communities, animal welfare, and even our health.” (http://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/) There seems to be a miscommunication problem. A rather large one at that.
So to help paint a better picture, I’m going to explain my farm and I would like you to let me know what kind of farm you think I work on.
1.) We have a feed yard where the animals have access to hay, feed, and water 24/7.
2.) We give shots to animals that are sick and keep an eye on them for several days to make sure they are recovering.
3.) We drive tractors and plant crops.
4.) We produce products for consumers.
5.) Livestock is provided with protection from the elements.
So, what kind of farm do I live on? What do YOU define as a factory farm or a family farm. To me, they are exactly the same thing, just on a different size level. Just because a farmer has more animals than another farmer doesn’t make him a ‘factory’. Just because a farmer is smaller doesn’t make him a ‘family farmer’. Just like people, farmers are different. You know that saying from when we were kids, “one bad apple can spoil the bunch”? It happens like that to farmers. Expect when one bad apple is exposed, no one is perceived as a juicy, worm-less, shiny, and wonderful apple. We’re all thought of as brown, soft, and rotten.
Remember the other old saying, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”? Keep that in mind when your stomach is growling. We’ll be there to make that feeling go away because your food comes from a farm. Just that. Not a factory, not a family, but from a farm.