Perhaps one of the greatest issues in the world today is the issue of world hunger. So many people in our world live their lives hungry day in and day out. This is not to mention the millions of people that we lose to world hunger every year. Although this statistic truly is a tragedy, there is something that many people do not know how the issue of global hunger in our society today. Many people believe that the reason for global hunger is due to a worldwide shortage of food, meaning that there isn’t enough food produced for everyone in the world to consume in order to not go to bed hungry. In all actuality this is a falsity, and there is in fact enough food produced for everyone to eat, it is just the distribution of that food which comes up short. In order to prove this misconception wrong we are going to be looking at some factual evidence, hopefully providing further insight.
In order to take this further and look at the reality of the situation, I quote wfp.org. This site states “There is enough food in the world today for everyone to have the nourishment necessary for a healthy and productive life. There is, however, a need to be more efficient, sustainable, and fair in how we grow and distribute food. This means a) supporting small-scale farmers and b) making sure that food ‘safety nets’ are in place to protect the most vulnerable people from hunger.” (www.wfp.ord, 2014) With this said the point that the world is short of food is further determined to be incorrect. There is enough food produced for everyone we just need to do a better job with distribution. So there it is, the final misconception of my “misconceptions about agriculture” blog series, debunked.
The care of animals that are used to produce the food that we produce, purchase and consume is always of serious concern. The reason consumers must be concerned about this is because of the fact that we don’t just want to put anything in their bodies. With this said, it is of great concern when livestock are kept in questionable conditions that raise concern about the health of the animal, therefore effecting the health of the consumer. Many people tend to believe that when animals are kept in confined spaces it promotes disease and make farmers subject their livestock to antibiotics and hormones, therefore sacrificing the product and human health. Contrary to popular belief this is actually a common misconception in the world of agriculture. In order to debunk this we are going to look at some information that will prove it wrong.
In order to prove this wrong we look at a quote from themanitoban.com. This website states “By housing animals inside it is not only easier to protect the animals from weather, predators and disease, but it is also easier to monitor individual animals from a health care and nutritional perspective. Animals are just like us, they get sick sometimes. I am not sure about you, but when I get really sick I take something to make me feel better. Food is constantly monitored through testing and regulation from the farm gate to the grocery store. Milk is sampled and tested at the farm, processor, during the processing and prior to shipment to the grocery store. This means that it is virtually impossible for trace amounts of antibiotics or bacteria to be present in the milk that you buy in the grocery store.” (www.themanitoban.com, 2014) Therefore with these things stated we understand that contrary to the public opinion about these animals being prone to disease and being subjected to hormones and antibiotics, these animals are actually healthy for consumption. With that it is safe for us to say that another common misconception about agriculture has been, debunked.
With the growing options provided at grocery stores for agricultural products, many options are becoming available to consumers to choose from. With this it is also known that with many of these products there is a large price range that these goods are sold at. Many consumers believe that even with all the choices and price ranges provided, the good sold are just too highly priced. This seems to be true due to the fact that over the years even a gallon of milk has increased steadily in price. All though this is true it is actually just a misconception that our food is priced too high. In order to prove this misconception wrong we are going to look at some information that will hopefully prove otherwise.
Taking a closer look at this I reference an entry on blog.fastline.com. This site states “The Truth – Our food prices are some of the most affordable and abundant in the world. For a quick comparison, American’s food cost makes up about 6.7 percent of our incomes. In comparison, Japan was 14 percent; China was 21.3 percent; and India a staggering 51 percent. How’s that for affordable food?” (www.blog.fastline.com, 2014) With this statement we actually see that our food is not overpriced, we see just the opposite. It turns out that the food that we purchase is quite affordable and among the most affordable available. So there you have it, another one of those pesky misconceptions about agriculture, debunked.
As consumers, it is important for us to be actively involved in the constant searching and looking in to of information about where our food comes from. More importantly we have to think how that food is getting from where it is being produced to our kitchen table.it so turns our that’s some people that some people believe that during that process, farmers and producers are harming the environment. Many of these people who are concerned about it tend more likely then not to be environmentalists who fight to defend and have the environment. Don’t get me wrong it is important to preserve our environment and sustain it, but this statement about farmers destroying the environment is just false and is a misconception.
In order to back up my statement about this claim not being true, I make these references from animalsmart.org to demonstrate ways that farmers are working to conserve and sustain the environment. “Farmers engage in many different conservation practices that help to preserve the environment. Conservation refers to using less resources and having less of an effect on the land. Practices that farmers use on their farms might include no-till, putting fences around streams, planting cover crops, collecting water runoff, and integrating crop and pasture rotations. No-till on a farm refers to a practice where farmers do not use tillage methods, such as plowing to disturb the soil (Blanco et al., 2008). When farmers use no-till, they do not disturb the soil until the seed is planted. Things such as old corn stalks and leaves are left on the soil surface (Blanco et al., 2008). No-till helps farmers conserve the soil by not disrupting the soil and leaving it intact so that it cannot be washed away by water or blown away by wind. When soil is preserved, it remains healthier and is better able to support crop growth. Farmers are now putting up fences around streams, rivers and ponds on their property to keep livestock out of the water. It is important for farmers to keep livestock out of water sources because livestock can disturb the banks and cause the water to become muddy and full of dirt. Livestock can leave waste in the water, which adds excessive nutrients to the water like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. An overload of dirt and waste can pollute the water, making it unhealthy for fish and other aquatic species to live. It is extremely important to protect water sources because they serve as a vital source of drinking water. Water from polluted sources can also run into the ocean and harm sea life.” (www.animalsmart.org , 2014)
With all of this evidence stated, it is hard to believe that some individuals think that farmers are destroying the environment. So it is safe to say that this claim about farmers harming the environment is simply not true, and another misconception about agriculture has been debunked.
With the growing use of genetically modified properties being used in food and livestock, consumers are becoming more and more confused as to their effect on the human body. Many individuals believe that the genetically modified genes that are consumed from eating these gmos can affect the genes in their body. This of course is just another of those pesky misconceptions about agriculture and actually is not true. Though it isn’t true it is understandable as to why many people may have this concern dude to the fact that many people don’t know about gmos. We are going to look into this misconception and see if it really is true or not.
When looking at this conception we think about whether or not this claim could be a reality. It is hard to imagine that this could actually be possible; to refute this claim i quote this. ” A person’s body ingests the proteins and absorbs the amino acids to use them to build more proteins. The body cannot tell where the protein originates and thus it treats all the proteins the same. Problems occur only when the person has a food allergy.” (www.ncfieldfamily.org, 2012) With this stated it actually indeed is not true that a person’s genes could be changed by eating a genetically modified fruit or vegetable. So there you have it, another common misconception about agriculture, debunked.
There are two different kinds of consumers of agriculture/ livestock in our society,. There is the kind that could care less about where their food comes from or how it gets to their table, and then there is the type who wants to have knowledge about every step of its production. More often then not, the later of these two is concerned with specifically how the animals that their food is produced from are treated. Although in the past these animals used to be slaughtered and treated inhumanely, now it is a common misconception that these animals are treated this way. Some consumers like to think that this is still this case that these animals are still treated inhumanely, but that is simply not the case.
In order to debunk this common misconception about agriculture, particularly livestock, we look at a small piece of history that had a huge impact on the meat packing industry. What am I talking about you ask? I’m talking about the “The Humane Slaughter Act of 1958”. “The Humane Slaughter Act, or the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act, is a United States federal law designed to decrease suffering of livestock during slaughter. It was approved on August 27, 1958.” (www.wikipedia.org, 2013) So this is an act that is been in place for quite some time, but then the question arises, how is this act enforced in meat packing plants today? As well as the first, this question also has a definitive answer that refutes our misconceptions. In order to answer this question I reference meatmythcrushers.com. “No other sector of animal agriculture has the level of oversight that the U.S. meat packing industry has. Under the Humane Slaughter Act, all livestock must be treated humanely. They must be given water at all times, given feed if they are held at a plant for an extended period and they must be handled in a way that minimizes stress. Federal veterinarians monitor animal handling continually and may take a variety of actions — including shutting a plant down — for violations.” (www.meatmythcrushers.com, 2014)
With these two points of evidence stated it’s easy to understand how people could be uneducated about this topic and create misconceptions. I’m guilty myself because I too thought that animals in meat packing plants were still being mistreated today, thankfully I am wrong. So there you have it, another misconception about agriculture debunked.
As a young child, you dream as to what you want to be when you grow up, and at a young age some of these dreams can be quite outlandish. There are the plausible aspirations such as to be a cop or a fireman, or perhaps even a doctor. Of course there are also the crazy ones like wanting to be a dragon or the color blue, I’m guilty too as I wanted to be the blue power ranger (which eventually I learned the hard way that I could not be the blue power ranger.) One profession that I did not hear really as a child from any of my peers when that question was asked was the desire for someone to become a farmer. This of course may have to do with my geographical position as I live in the second biggest city in the United States. However we did of course learn briefly about farmers and generally what they do, yet never did I hear that they earned lots of money, in fact we were told that most farmers did not make much money at all. So why is it that it is actually a common misconception that all farmers are rich. This is pretty shocking to me so we are going to look at this in more detail.
In all actuality, farming is not a career path recommended for those wanting to become millionaires, or even to become fairly wealthy. If this is what you desire in a lifestyle, then farming is not for you. This is not to say that there aren’t wealthy farmers, saying that would simply be not true in the slightest. Yet at the same time the majority of farmers do the job for more of a noble cause, because they love the lifestyle and the idea of producing food for thousands, even millions of people and in essence feeding them. To further reiterate this point I reference Matthew J. Lohr, Commissioner from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He states this, “In Virginia it’s usually more like, “I hope I can make a decent living for my family.” If your goal is to get rich, frankly, there are many ways to accomplish that goal that are easier and quicker than getting rich through agriculture. We do have some wealthy farmers in Virginia, and I am proud of them. But even among those who are wealthy, I think the motivators for farmers tend to be of a more noble nature. We farm because we love it or because we love the lifestyle or we think it’s a good way to raise our children. We may farm out of a deep-seated desire to help, to make a positive difference in the world. Or we simply may realize that farming is not only the world’s oldest profession, but that it is the only one that is truly necessary. Bottom line, when we can’t feed ourselves, nothing else matters because we will be dead in four or five days.” (www.vdacs.virginia.gov, 2013)
From this quote we understand that being a farmer is not a position of wealth, but a position of nobility. Farmers are committed to serving us and providing food for our tables so we may eat. As Mr. Lohr stated “without that food we’d be dead in four or five days”, and this is true. Farmers don’t make a whole heck of a lot of money, but the difference that they make on our society is unimaginable. So there you have it, another one of those false misconceptions about agriculture, debunked.