The agricultural industry is filled with corporation farmers and ranchers that are profit driven, right?
Well not exactly. There are over two million farms across the United States, ninety-nine percent of them are family owned and operated. Unfortunately the number of farms across the U.S. has decreased significantly over time, but farming families are still holding strong. Families involved in farming and ranching make up only about two percent of the U.S. population. We may be few, but we are proud. I do not think there is a better way to raise a family than on a farm or ranch.
Hard work is taught from a young age. Farmers receive only about sixteen cents of every dollar that consumers spend on food. Since the profit margin is so slim, it is necessary to work hard, and efficiently just to make a living. The number of farms and those involved in the agricultural industry is decreasing, but so is the profit margin; in 1980 farmers and ranchers received thirty one cents for every dollar consumers spent on food and textiles. While being hard working is so important, so is being caring of your animals, and taking care of your land so it can continue to be productive. There are many horror stories and documentaries showing animal abuse and wrongful treatment. Unfortunately no industry is perfect and pure, there are always going to be a bad “egg” or two. However, I can say confidently that ranchers care more for their animals than you can imagine. If we treat our animals badly, the quality of the product that comes from those animals decreases significantly. Abusing cattle, swine, and lambs causes the meat to bruise and be worth less. This will bring the farmer less money. Furthermore, if a dairy cow is put into a high stress environment her milk production will decrease, bringing the profit margin down even more.
Just this spring I was reminded of why I love the agricultural industry so much. In the middle of a bad storm, one of our cows calved. By the time my uncle went out to check on the calf, he noticed it was so cold and barely alive. He immediately grabbed the calf, got on his four-wheeler, and sped back to the house. He carried the calf inside to where the fireplace was, propped its head up, bottle fed it electrolytes. The calf was not warming up fast enough and it seemed as though the calf was not going to make it; my uncle was extremely sad and worried. In a last minute effort, my uncle finds a blow dryer, sits there for over thirty minutes rubbing the calf dry with a towel and blow drying it. Thankfully the calf ended up warming up and everything seemed to be fine so that night it got to join its mom back out in the pasture. If farmers really did not care about their animals, only their profit, why would so much effort and care be placed into one little animal. It is easy to get caught up in the current food trends and rumors. However, if we take a look back at the farms it is easy to see a different story.
Spring Calf 2018 Johnston Cattle LLC
O’Brien Girls Spring 2000
American Falls, Idaho