I think it’s time to set the record straight over here. I think some people are a little confused with what I support and don’t support when it comes to commercial farming. And there are even newcomers who somehow think we’re vegan. No, we aren’t, at all. Though if that’s what you are, that’s fine too!
Let me just start by saying, I DO support commercial farming. I am not against it. I have friends in commercial farming. It is their livelihood. For me to say I don’t support it would be insane and, quite honestly, rude. There are so many people in our country who could not survive if not for commercial farms. Farms, in general, feed masses. Whether it’s commercial or backyard. And that’s a good thing.
However, I DO NOT support the cruelty of animals in certain methods of commercial farming. Let’s show you an example. I have friends who own a dairy farm. Their cows are on pasture pretty much all the time. They milk a couple of times a day in a large parlor with milk machines. And then the cows get fed and head back out to the field. I support that. It’s commercial farming, but I still support it. Their milk is in the store 3 to 4 days later and consumers purchase it. I probably purchase it when we need milk and don’t have access to raw milk. They don’t stand in mud all day. They have freedom to roam. Perfect.
Now, there are other local dairy farms who are just the opposite. Their cows never touch pasture while in prime milking. They stand on concrete and straw all day long. With artificial lighting on 24 hours a day. No dark, whatsoever. They milk up to 6 times a day. After 2 years or less, their bodies are spent. And they are deemed useless.
You can clearly see that there are two different methods to commercial farming. One is “old school” and one is “modernized”. While the old school method might not bring in as much return, at least it allows you to have a clear conscious and keep some morals. The modernized one, not so much. Both farms provide milk to the community, but if we’re being honest, I’d have a better conscious fully supporting the old school than the modernized.
There’s an argument that the cows don’t know any better. And while that may be true — WE know better.
Again, with the entire chicken ordeal. I’m all for commercial chicken farming, but I am AGAINST the animal suffering because of selfish reasons. I’m not against commercial chicken farming, but I am FOR allowing them to have space to run wild and free OUTSIDE where they belong.
We have other friends who are in the planting and harvesting side of commercialized farming. They own or work on large farms that harvest soy beans, alfalfa, corn, and other crops that bring in an income, whether being sold as food or as feed for animals. These crops are GMO crops. I’m fully against GMO crops. But if we’re being honest, half of these farmers just don’t have a choice. They don’t. It’s not an excuse. It’s reality. At first it seemed like a good idea—they yield more product and make more money. They can buy better equipment and support their families. But in the long run, our bodies suffer because of the chemicals in these crops, and so do our animals.
However, I’m not against it. I’m not against supporting my friends and family who have to do what they have to do. They wouldn’t have a business in agriculture if they went completely organic or non-gmo at this point. They inherited these farms and jobs, can you imagine how hard it would be to just stop and work from scratch? It would be hard. People have done it, and still do it. But I support them as humans, whatever their decision may be.
Now, with that said. I don’t support chemical treatments of crops and non-organic feed. From a health standpoint, it’s just not good for our land, animals, or us. But this is a bigger battle, and it’s possible to win, but there will always, always, be GMO crops….always. For the very reason that there are 6 BILLION people in the world and 3 BILLION of them don’t know how to take care of themselves and rely on the grocery store and Big Ag to feed them. It’s not just Big Ag’s fault, people. It’s ours. We allowed it to happen. We allowed it to come into our homes. Careers and tv and cellphones and the finer things in life became too important to us. Gardening and homesteading became less important.
At some point, we became out of touch with the skills and traits necessary to take care of ourselves. Someone had to step up to the plate, and we welcomed them with open arms.
It’s time to stand up for YOURSELF. We might not be able to take on Big Ag and the things we don’t like about it, but we can make a better life for ourselves. I’m not in the business of wanting others to go out of business. But you can change YOURSELF. Grow a garden this year. Learn how to can goods. Get some chickens. Buy some meat rabbits or quail as a meat source. Learn the things your ancestors fought to keep and, somewhere along the line, we failed at keeping. We handed it over and said “take care of us, we’re too lazy and other things are more important….we don’t have the time to fool with it”
And for goodness sake, do your research. We don’t all have it together. WE ARE STILL LEARNING. The commercial farmer isn’t always the bad man. There are plenty of amazing commercial farmers out here doing the best they can and taking care of their animals. I know some backyard farmers who treat their animals worse than Big Ag.
Do what works for you and your family. Learn a skill, a trade. Take care of yourselves and stop depending on overly commercialized products to take care of you. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll appreciate life a little more….be a little healthier….and find that you enjoy the simple things.
Amy K. Fewell is an author, family herbalist, entrepreneur, homesteader, and homemaker. Living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, her and her family live a natural homesteading lifestyle where they promote self-sufficiency and liberty. Amy is the founder of the Homesteaders of America organization and annual events. You can discover more on this website and at homesteadersofamerica.com