Here are a few of my favorite (I use that word loosely) quotes from the article:
- "ANIMAL agriculture's structure has changed "dramatically" in the last 20 years as cattle feeding and hog and poultry production have transitioned to fewer but larger operations, but the change has benefited sustainability, producers and consumers, according to Dr. James MacDonald, chief of the U.S. Economic Research Service's (ERS) Agricultural Structure & Productivity Branch."
- "However, he acknowledged that the impact also has included decreased competition and intense concerns related to air and water pollution."
- "As for size, he said the "midpoint" for a typical dairy in 1987 was 80 head, whereas today, it's 550 head; similarly, feedlots went from 17,500 head to 35,000 head per yard, hog operations went from 1,200 head to 30,000 head and chicken complexes went from 300,000 birds to 600,000 birds."
- "MacDonald said the fewer-but-larger trend also applies to packers/processors, with basically four major buyers of fed cattle, two to four major buyers of hogs and a handful of chicken integrators that contract production with local farmers. However, he said the marketplace has remained competitive."