agriculture, Holly Spangler's 30 Day Blog Challenge

The Last Of a Dying Breed

He wakes up before daylight. He works all day, with no set pay. He’s the man praying for rain in drought. And sunshine in floods. He busts his back for you and me every single day. Producing is his only priority. Why? Because he is the American family farmer and its all he’s ever known. This image is becoming more and more rare as we speak, this hardworking farmer is truly one of the last of a dying breed. Because, little do many of you know that this farm that has been in his family for the last five generations is about to be taken. By who you might ask? Corporate farmers. What is a corporate farmer? Corporate farming is better known as mega farming. Mega farming is a term that describes the business of agriculture, specifically what is seen by some as the practices of mega corporations which are involved in food production on a very large scale. These mega farms are a modern food industry issue and are affecting all aspects of not only agricultural farming itself, but the entire chain of agriculture related businesses that get your food to you. Corporate farms are companies that come together and dominate the food industry.

Many people do not realize that many of the common environmental and mistreatment of animal issues are not evoked by the average family farmer, instead thousands of animals are confined in small spaces, and hundreds of illegal workers are put to work for organizations known as factory farmers, or mega-farmers. Mega farmers come in and offer large sums of money for land that cant be refused. Instead of taking care of the land that was once in great condition, it depreciates in value because mega farmers don’t replenish the soil with the nutrients they took out of it after harvest. They also don’t spray chemicals on the crops, all to save the money their spending on the extra land. They hire underpaid usually migrant employees, who have no idea what they are doing majority of the time. The workers are just told the basics of how to operate the machinery and told to get it done. No one cares how well its done, because no one plans on going back to check it. Just as long as the seed is in the dirt and in the end the business gets its money, no questions are asked. They repeat this process until they have used every possible nutrient they can and gotten everything out of that soil and land, and then they sell out fast and move on to just repeat the exact same routine. They stay in business because of the flaws in the way crop insurance is determined.

Not only are mega farmers taking over the grain industry and ruining the soil fertility in perfectly good land for any farmer that has to take over it after they leave, but they are taking advantage of the livestock industries too. Oversized confinements that release toxins that when exposed to humans can trigger multiple health problems and sometimes death. For example, Threemile Canyon Farms in Boardman, Oregon, reported that its 52,300-dairy-cow operation emits 15,500 pounds of ammonia per day, totaling more than 5,675,000 pounds per year. That is 75,000 pounds more than the nation’s number one manufacturing source of ammonia air pollution CF Industries of Donaldson. The maneuvers they pull effect not only the famers’ reputation and livelihood they destroy, but anyone who consumes products and tries to regulate laws or emissions requirements. These corporations don’t care that their animals are confined in spaces that provide them with minimal room for them to have any normal behaviors. They don’t care that their animals have access to little or no sunlight or fresh air. While our rural areas are being turned into dumping grounds, these people are cashing in. They want their money, and as long as they get it, they don’t care about anything else.

The real difference between a mega farmer and a local farmer is quality verses quantity. And as sad as it is, the quantity and money are taking over our country today. Even though a farm is traditionally thought of as a big red barn and an old man in overalls, that idea is slowly fading away in America’s society. Local farms are far and few between and becoming more scarce everyday. The reputation of agriculture should not be put in the hands of mega farmers that could care less what happens to the industry; the future of agriculture should lie in the heart of the American family farmer that works all hours of the day to provide for millions of strangers.

“Environmental Impact : The Humane Society of the United States.” RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2014. <>.

Schmalzried, Hans D. “Mega-Daries Quality of Life Concerns.” Public Health Reports. N.p., Sept.-Oct. 2010. Web. 16 Sept. 2014. <>.


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