Hobby Farms Choked Out by Corporate America

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rural living for pleasure and profit.  This is a simple, yet honest definition of the Hobby Farm coined from Hobby Farms Magazine. Since Paleolithic times, families have farmed the land.  In now modern day Iraq, the Fertile Crescent, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers was perhaps the location of the first Hobby Farms.  Sumerians farmed for food, and ultimately for survival.  Further west, the now Gaza Strip was creating a way to irrigate Petra and Bostra for the survival of the Nabataen civilization.  Even in the powerful Egyptian civilization, farming was a way of life from the Nile’s Delta, and south on the banks of the great river.

From ancient to modern times, farming was/is one of the most important tasks for the survival of clans, tribes and of course modern families of today.  When walking into a health store and strolling into the organic foods section, most likely those foods were home-grown on a hobby farm, and the money from the purchase is used for the survival of the families and the farms.  So what happens when corporate America begins swallowing up all these hobby farms?  Families suffer.  Mountain Valley View Farm Inc. suffers.  Hobby farms are important and there are negative affects on society when capitalism chokes out the little guy.

It is unfortunate to see Big Business buy out families to create cash crops such as wheat, cotton, and corn.  These cash crops are not for family consumption, but rather, pure profit for the corporation.  According to the Center for Rural Affairs,

“Corporate farming leads to closed markets where prices are fixed not by open, competitive bidding, but by negotiated contracts and where producers who don’t produce in large volumes are discriminated against in price or other terms of trade.”

Basically, there is a huge argument against the rise of Industrial Agriculture.  And, as stated above, all the hobby farm owners producing small quantities of food for both themselves and vendors take a major hit in profit.  However, it is not only the farmer who suffers but also the consumer.  As Industrial Agriculture rises, so do the prices for food.  There are no longer competitive prices by small businesses, but one high price set by the industry.

And prices are not the only issue in the negative affects of Industrial Farming.  Corporate farming is often criticized for their food production and methods used to maximize their crop yield. This creates many problems with the consumption of these products as well.  There is a much higher amount of chemicals found in the produce.  Genetically modified crops, hormones, preservatives, color additives and insecticides are prevalent in corporate farming.  Corporate slaughterhouses are inhumane.  Cattle so frightened they soil themselves in the slaughter process are not fully cleaned, thus, contaminated meats are packaged and sent to vendors for our consumption.  Further, these corporate farms also taint water and pollute the air of nearby farms from their mega factories.

The rise in Industrial Agriculture is distressing to the family farmer, and should be alarming to the consumer as well.  In 1980, only five percent of corporations sold hogs and grain, and in 1997, an alarming sixty percent were sold under some form of contract.  According to the Factory Farms Food and Water Watch website, the livestock from factory farms rose over one-fifth between 2002 and 2007; hog farms increased by forty two percent averaging ten thousand hogs per factory farm in seven different states; egg operations have grown fifty percent and “…[the] largest flocks all average at least 750,000 hens per factory farm.”

What then should consumers and family farms do to fight against these Industrial farms? First and foremost, the general public needs to be made aware of exactly what the repercussions of factory farming includes. And second, all consumers and farmers must take action.  We must challenge the control of our food system by creating and signing petitions against the monopolization of the food industry.  Factory farms need the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate their industry as the only regulations now include getting permits for facilities that release manure directly into waterways.  And, we must not support corporate farming and purchase directly from private family farms.  If enough people support local business, corporate farming will begin to lose their profits.  It isn’t a final solution, but it is a step in the right direction.

 

About the Author:

Mountain Valley View Farm, Inc. is a small 30-acre farm situated in beautiful Greenacres, WA. We breed Icelandic horses and keep a variety of other farm animals including goats, chickens, and pheasants, and ducks. Our orchard and berry patch provide an excellent variety of fresh fruit. In addition, our farm raises honeybees and sells natural honey.  We also offer gift items with honeybee and honey themes, including cookbooks. Our popular Cookbook Delights series is also available for sale and covers recipes for many special events and foods. We also decided to try our hand at a small vineyard, planting approved cuttings of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes. We look forward to being able to share our very own wine with our guests and customers soon.

We also offer the Getaway Studio, a unique Bed & Breakfast that brings the unique tranquility of country life to you. The Getaway Studio is a completely furnished one-bedroom apartment that can accommodate up to four guests. With a full kitchen, private bath, laundry, and access to amenities like our swimming pool and hot tub, it is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life!

For more information, you can contact the author at her office below:

Karen Jean Matsko Hood

507 N. Sullivan Rd. Suite LL-7

Spokane Valley, WA 99037 USA

Phone: (509) 924-3550 Fax: (509) 922-9949

karensblog.net

karenjeanmatskohood.com



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