As a farmer and mother I have been in several situations lately where consumers start talking organic. Is organically grown food better for you then the food that is raised traditionally? I will be honest, I am no expert and I don’t like hard numbers but I do know how we raise animals and crops on our farm, traditionally that is. First and foremost I must say that there is a place for all agriculturalists and having the choice at the local grocer is our right; just get the facts and talk to a farmer before making that decision is all that I ask.
On our farm we raise hogs, cattle, corn, soybeans, and wheat. Our livestock is sent to market after being fed the crops that we produce and purchase from other farmers in the area. Since we just finished up with planting season let’s start there. When selecting a seed to plant we choose the seed that has the best traits for the soil and climate in our area. We can also choose seed that has certain traits to resist the pests that eat and ruin the crop. By selecting these traits we can cut down on the chemicals that are needed to care for the crop itself. Chemicals seem like such a bad word but in reality spraying our corn and soybeans is no different than spraying weeds in your driveway or throwing some dust on your backyard vegetable garden to keep the bugs away. Every practice that we carry out on the farm is a safe and approved and has allowed us to raise more food on less ground.
The livestock is also raised under the absolute best conditions. We house the hogs in large barns so that they are out of the elements of the weather. In Ohio we can have zero degree winter days or one-hundred degree summer sun. The hogs are unaware of this shift in weather; through the design of the barns they are always kept in a nice seventy degree climate controlled atmosphere. Since the hogs are kept in barns they are also not exposed to parasites and “bugs” that may cause them to become ill. This means that they will likely never be treated for any reason other than the electrolytes that help the baby pigs just off their moms.
There are many reasons why farmers do what they do. Becoming a farmer is not a job choice; it is a way of life. The challenge is that if you have questions about where your food comes from find a farmer and ask them. Farmers are the ones that grow and know about food and they are ready to hear from you.