After the video I posted on Monday, my thoughts I posted yesterday, and the comments in both of the posts this article from the May, 2008 issue of "The Stockman Grassfarmer" comes at a great time. The article by Bud Williams (he has a recently new column in the publication) is titled, "Grass Farming Must Grow By Giving People What They Want". Mr. Williams' basic premise is spelled out plainly in the title, but he also concludes that there will always be a need/desire for the factory farms because that is what the people want.
In the article Mr. Williams asks,
"As a nation, we went from small farm to family farm to factory farm. How did this happen? Was it because of... Evil corporations taking advantage of us? A government conspiracy to keep food prices low? Cheap oil or any of the other things blamed? No, it was none of these things. It was caused by more people and people wanting more."I like the path that Mr. Williams is going down. I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist or glass half empty kind of guy and I do agree to a point that if people want to do factory farming because that is what they want to do it is okay. And I do agree that growth in the grass farming world needs to come from public demand for grassfed beef. People need to want it because of the taste, because of the environmental concerns, and because it is just natural.
But, with that being said I don't think the answer is that simple. Evil corporations taking advantage of us … well, I might not go that far, but it is evident that big ag companies do work with the Universities to make sure their products get used. A government conspiracy to keep food prices low … not really a conspiracy, because it was totally out in the open, but keeping food prices low was the main thrust of what Earl Butts did. Cheap oil or any of the other things that are blamed … I'm all for cheap oil, bring it on! No really, sure that contributed to the industrialization of agriculture because now that oil is high we see things changing towards energy conservation.
One more thing, I don't think we went from small farm to family farm to factory farm. Because the small farms were family farms. I think we went from subsistence only family farms to family farms that because of advancements could sell the extras and then to factory farms. The factory farms came at a time when a lot of America's business was being ramped up so it isn't like they became factory farms on their own.
The article continues with more good information and thoughts from Mr. Williams, but ends with the thing that I probably agree with the most,
"If we can't change the factory farms at least we can supple the people who want grass-based products. Make a profit and enjoy what you do, then you can Smile and Mean it!"