Big or Small, We All Produce Food!

It’s all the new food craze. Buy Local! Go to the farmer’s market! Meet your local farmers! Stay away from big company food products! Go organic! Stay away from Antibiotics and Hormones! I think someone missed the point.

Getting to know who produces your food is a great thing! Buying from farmer’s markets and supporting local growers is great as well! But big companies are a part of Agriculture too. It’s part of America’s economy. Big can be more efficient and cheaper. After all it is the consumers’ dollar that drives demand and supply.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for small producers and believe they will remain a vital part of food production in America. I grew up on a family ranch in Arkansas. We produced our own beef. Traded for pork from our neighbors and always had a taste of friends’ gardens. We knew everyone we traded cattle with and all of the producers in our area. The operation was small family owned and operated, and we knew where our cattle came from and where they were going. That place where they were going was a large company owned feedyard.

So many people give big businesses a bad wrap simply because they do not take time to know the people in the business. (I will use cattle feedyards as my example here simply because it is my experience. The concept is applicable to all sectors of food production.) The employees at the company feedyard are people too! People like me who grew up on a small, family operation, who still hold to their values, and might be looking for a career opportunity to gain experience and improve upon their skills. Since when was the idea thrown out the window of getting to know the people who produce beef from a feedyard? Do you really think it is a completely different industry? If so, please do tell me, because I sure would like to know how so.

Image courtesy of feedcattle.com

Both small and large agriculturalists work toward ONE and the SAME goal: Produce food that meets consumer demand. That demand requires that some produce food for specialized markets along with mass production for the demand of the general population. If one producer raises beef for the organic/natural markets, does that mean he/she has to despise the feedyards who produce beef for another demographic? Absolutely not! We all have to find our own niche in the markets. There are specialty markets for everything. Hispanic demographics demand different cuts of meat compared to a Jewish demographic. Some people prefer food labeled organic/natural. Some prefer to purchase food from local producers. Everyone has the right to make that choice, but it does not make one producer more/less important than another.

So take this as a challenge to meet someone from a larger food producer and get to know what is behind the company name. I guarantee you will find people just like me. People with a small, family production background looking to experience more. Someone looking for their niche in food production. If you have no one else around, send me a message! I would be more than gracious to tell you my story and answer your questions. It’s not always antibiotics and hormones.

“Don’t point out the spec in your neighbor’s eye, until you remove the plank from your own!”

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