According to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 9 of the 12 most dangerous and persistent organic chemicals are pesticides. Known as the "pesticide trap," farmers get caught on the treadmill as they are forced to spend more on pesticides each year just to keep crop loss from pests at a standard rate. Factory farms cram animals, such as cows, hogs and chickens, by the thousands into tightly packed, filthy, windowless sheds where they are confined to gestation crates, wire cages, barren dirt lots or other cruel confinement systems. As PETA explains, "These animals will never raise their families, root around in the soil, build nests, or do anything that is natural and important to them.
This paper is a statement of my truth about what's happening in rural Americawhy it's happening, and what rural people can do about it. Your truth may be different from mine, and if so, that's okay with me. What's most important is that we each have sound reasons for believing what we believe to be true.
I write and speak my truth with conviction because I know why I believe what I believe to be true. Rural communities are being systematically polluted and plundered by an industrial agriculture that is increasingly under the control of large agribusiness corporations.
A quick examination of the types of economic development strategies being touted for rural areas reveals some valuable insights into their dilemma. Many rural communities, desperate for jobs, are encouraged to compete for new prisons. If they can't get a prison, they may be encouraged to settle for a landfill, so they can bury trash from some distant urban center.
If they can't get a landfill, they can probably get a toxic waste incinerator or a nuclear waste site. And if all else fails, they are encouraged to roll out the welcome mat for large-scale confinement animal feeding operations. The corporate world sees rural areas as empty spaces occupied by desperate people that can be exploited as dumping grounds for the wastes from their environmentally and socially degrading business activities.
|DEFINING AND MAPPING THE CURRENT U.S. FOOD SYSTEM||Hidden Costs of Industrial Agriculture Photo:|
The profits go to wealthy corporate investors, while rural people are paid but a few dollars to dispose of their human, material, and animal wastes. I understand such economic development strategies. I spent the first half of my academic career and two-thirds of my life as a conservative, bottom-line, free market economist.
I wasn't worried all that much about what was happening to the rural environment or to rural people. I trusted the competition of free markets to guide humanity toward a more productive and prosperous future.
As I began to open my mind and my eyes to what else was happening, I could see that our farmland was being washed away, our streams and groundwater were being polluted with agricultural chemicals, and our farm communities were in economic decline and social decay.
I eventually came to the conclusion that these ills were not the natural consequences of agriculture, but instead were symptoms of a particular kind of agriculture, an agriculture driven by specialization, standardization, and consolidation — an industrial agriculture driven by the economic bottom line.
During the s, as I watched the giant agribusiness corporations take control of American agriculture, I was forced to conclude that America agriculture quite simply is not sustainable. I understand where the advocates of industrial agriculture are coming from because I have been there.
Issues this controversial invariably reflect legitimate concerns on both sides and none of us should be so egotistical as to believe that only we know the ultimate truth of such things. My truth is simply different from that of the advocates of industrial agriculture.
My truth also is based on conversations with rural people all across the U. I provided leadership for a five-year, three-state program linking sustainable agriculture with rural community development. I also have met with rural people concerned about the impacts of large-scale confinement animal feeding operations on their communities in more than a dozen states in the U.
I have not just talked to rural people; I have also listened to rural people, including people with a wide range of opinions.
I have reviewed journal articles, books, and research reports from a wide variety of sources. A University of North Dakota report prepared for the North Dakota Attorney General's office summarizes much of the research-base information related to the negative impacts of industrial agriculture on rural communities.
Confinement animal feeding operations CAFOs are the epitome of what's wrong with what is happening in rural America today. They obviously are not the sole cause of concern for rural communities but CAFOs exemplify what's wrong with the corporate industrialization of American agriculture.
They pollute the air and water, deplete the productivity of the land, destroy the social fabric of rural communities, and contrary to popular belief, threaten the future of American agriculture and the economies of rural communities. So I focus my comments in this paper on the CAFO issue, to keep it reasonable in scope, but the same conclusions hold for industrial agriculture in general, particularly as it comes under corporate control.
The corporate industrial model already exemplifies production of fruits and vegetables, poultry and eggs, beef and pork, and is in the process of taking over dairy production, with field crops likely next in line.
The impacts and consequences of corporate industrialization are just more obvious for CAFOs. Obviously, each community I have visited over the years is different, but they all have many similarities.
The agribusiness corporations invariably promote CAFOs as a logical rural economic development strategy and the only means of maintaining a viable agriculture sector in farming communities. The rural people opposing CAFOs invariably are concerned about odors and pollution of streams and groundwater — which ultimately are concerns about health — and about the impacts of CAFOs on the overall quality of life in their communities.
Local public officials invariably want to know whether any potential economic benefits of CAFOs are worth the ecological and social costs. The promoters of CAFOs tend to target rural communities that are desperate for economic development, although once established, they may branch out into surrounding areas as well.
Local leaders are told that the CAFO will add to local employment and the local tax base. The effects of increased local spending for buildings, equipment, feed, and feeder livestock are supposed to multiply as they ripple through the community, resulting in additional expenditures for groceries, clothes, housing, automobiles, healthcare, and other consumer necessities."Organic farming is a production system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and livestock feed additives.
Together, the public- and private-sector institutions determine the information that key food system actors have about the performance of alternative approaches to farming and food provision and affect the relative economic viability of different farm production and food processing systems.
ECCAP WG13 Report: Energy Flow, Environment and Ethical Implications for Meat Production 1 Executive Summary Meat production is a complex and multifaceted issue that is deeply connected to matters of environment. intensive farming, find out the major benefits of intensive agriculture, ascertain the effects of intensive farming on the soil and examine ways of reducing intensive agriculture in the study area.
III. This report examines industrialized agriculture and its negative effects on our natural resources. The report analyzes the structure of the agriculture industry, the position of the livestock industry within the global food system, and the role of the farmer within the livestock industry.
On the production line in American packinghouses, there is one cardinal rule: the chain never slows. Under pressure to increase supply, the supervisors of meat processing plants have routinely accelerated production, leading to inhumane conditions, increased accidents, and food of questionable, often dangerous timberdesignmag.coms: