People all around use words like “organic,” “sustainable,” and “local movement” they want their food to be a certain way, but it can’t get that way by itself or solely at the expense of the farmer. If you are buying growth hormone free meat it is because you don’t want your kids exposed to it. It could be the very reason why children are larger and suffer obesity more than the previous generations. Standing back and complaining only gets so much accomplished but if you are one of the millions of new farmers, gardeners and consumers “growing your own” fresh produce and buying or raising only pasture grown meat that is free of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics then you are not a part of the problem, you are the solution.
What are you doing to make sure your food is just the way you want it
People want these specific details in their food but they don’t want to pay for it. People talk a lot, but it doesn’t mean much. People will talk you in to giving your fresh produce and farm products away for free if they can, but turn around and go to the grocery store and pay double the price for hormone induced eggs. Organic eggs are more expensive, say $4 a dozen, and an organic chicken is $20, but the farmers are not out there getting rich over those organic eggs, meat and produce by any means.
Why is are they more expensive
Yes the economy is crappy but if you really expect that groceries are too expensive then it is because you are so far removed from what it actually takes to raise food on a farm. Let’s take chickens, they are $2 a piece to purchase, 10% of them will die as chicks naturally. A egg-laying chicken take 3-4 months before it is ready, and a broiler chicken takes 20 weeks to mature. Heat lamps and electric bills can cost up to $200 a month. You have to buy fencing to keep out coyotes and other pests and if they are “free-range” chickens you will need a lot more fencing, and to dig that fencing at least three feet into the ground. It takes a lot of her work to clean the pens each day, keep the chickens healthy, marketing and selling.
A pound of chicken feed is 23 cents a pound bought by the ton. Each chicken will eat two pounds of food a month which produces 7-12 eggs a week. There is pay and up keep of the hay and nesting boxes and washing the eggs. You have to feed and keep them warm. Egg cartons are a nickel a piece. Then you have to drive your chickens to the USDA inspected chicken processor in your state. You may live close or you could be a hundred miles or more away some states only have one. Then come back in a day or two to pick them up. The trucks usually use diesel gas and the price of diesel is pretty high right now, $4.
Farming takes time, and is very hard work
People do not support farming. The people supporting it are the only ones out there buying it and are activists for local movements, the rest of the population doesn’t care what they eat and the rest just demand it on their own pay scale and time frame. This is exactly the reason why the farming industry is where it is in today’s world. People don’t like it and poo-poo its practices but they don’t support the right practices and techniques of the farmer both young and old, who is out there busting his behind to give you the meat and produce you are asking for using the above describing paraphrases. Even a local business needs to have its fan base, its regular customers in order to be successful. Farmers have a very limited “fan base” but there are lots of pretty demanding people out there and they are all buying.
People complain your farming smells and about the noise of the animals when they move nearby
The brand new million dollar home subdivision that just moved in doesn’t get it or want the farmer nearby, they only care about property values and what their friends and neighbors will think. Farming is more important than your flaky reputation which changes with the wind, our lives depend on them. The next time you are at a local farm stand or farmers market, don’t ask for a lower price, respect your local farmer and the work he does and this paying wage, the few dollars you are handing him or her. If you want sustainable, organic, pasture fed, free range, pesticide and antibiotic, hormone free produce and meat you have to support it.