Food and ag writer Tom Philpott of Mother Jones certainly has kept my attention through my own evolution from anti-GMO to pro-science supporter of GMOs. He used to be my hero. When it comes to recombinant DNA technology or genetic engineering in general, he mostly writes on the side of the antis but every now and then he comes across quite neutral on his specific food or ag topic and nails it. At Sleuth4Health, I’m all about the real truth, about GMOs, about agriculture, our food, health, everything. Mostly, I don’t want people to be scared to eat the food that is in their neighborhood grocery store. Enjoy it! It is abundant and, for the most part, inexpensive.
I continue to learn as I write this blog. Now that I actually know a few family farmers, this article was of great interest to me, and coming from Philpott made it even better.
For that reason, I am still a fan of Tom Philpott and Mother Jones!
Here a handful of snippets from his recent article titled: Does Corporate Farming Exist? Barely.
Goaded on by small-is-good gospel, plenty of people have adopted a Manichean view of modern US farming: large, soulless corporate enterprises on one side, human-scale, artisanal operations on the other. [...]
Reality is a lot more complicated. While there are plenty of mega-corporations in the food industry, they rarely do the actual farming themselves.
A USDA study released in August found that 96.4 percent of US crop farms are “family farms,” or “ones in which the principal operator, and people related to the principal operator by blood or marriage, own more than half.” That number doesn’t leave a lot of room for corporate farmers, does it?
The story is a bit—but not that much—different in meat production.
The farms that supply the feedlots—that raise the calves until they are ready to be fattened in those corporate-run confined finishing operations (CAFOS)—are almost exclusively family-owned businesses, as this 2011 USDA paper shows. And there are more than 700,000 of them.
Read the full article here
Of course, eventually the produce and livestock ends up in the hands of Big Ag for the processing of the desired food product but until then, it brings me some comfort to know that, yes, family owned cows do still eat grass! See Montana Cowboy College.