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Two forms of agriculture in the US

August 13, 2012

The effort to produce more has been a driving force in American agricultural production for over 200 years. Early efforts at harvesting with horse driven machines proved that more acreage could be cleared at a faster pace than by hand with sickles. The race was on and technology was the way. Modern harvesters can cost as much as $250,000 and are needed in order for farmers with large acreage to complete their crop production.

Today’s large scale farming uses a model with technological and scientific advances  to grow animals faster, keep them healthy in their living conditions, and provide nutrition to them.  Growth and shelf life of produce is also assisted with scientific techniques.  Soils are enhanced with fertilizers and crop yields are generally increasing if the weather cooperates. 

Today’s large scale farmers feel a need to participate this way to remain financially competitive.  American consumers enjoy low prices on food products.

The flip side of the coin is the “back to basics” movement. Used mostly by farmers with smaller acreage, the effort is made  to raise food in ways that are  reminiscent of practices that were in place only two generations ago. Field output is traded away to produce crops of standard as well as heritage vintage.  Grass-fed livestock takes longer to grow to maturity but the taste comparison is significant. Studies have shown that nutrition is of higher quality than conventional raised animals.  Some consumers recognize the higher value of these foods and are willing to pay for it, adjusting spending in another area of their life.

I am thankful that my introduction to farming started here in West Virginia and the people I have met are stewards not only of their land but recognize their part in feeding us healthy foods. Most of the farmers I have met will never be wealthy, but they are rich beyond compare for the value they hold in their chosen life and their effort to share with the rest of us.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2012 7:17 am

    I’m happy to have this chart! Thanks!

  2. August 13, 2012 3:52 pm

    Wow! the spinach comparison simply blew me away. This is stuff I suspected for years. Nice to see the research being done on it.

    • August 13, 2012 3:55 pm

      I remember my mother telling me if I ate “right” I would not need vitamin or mineral supplements. Well, that comparison of vegetables grown conventionally or organically shows that the ONLY way to expect to get the nutrition expected from them is to eat organically, It amazes me how far we have slipped in our food system here.

      • August 13, 2012 3:57 pm

        Most things seem to slip their cog when profit becomes the main goal or only goal.

  3. Allen Arnold permalink
    August 14, 2012 7:27 am

    I have repeatedly said–this isnot thepurview of any wvfarm2u blog.

    That having been said–this treatentn is not strident

    ________________________________

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