Sunday, June 12, 2011

MRSA and why we farm the way we do

An op-ed in today's New York Times, is just part of the reason we farm the way we do. If you want to get me on my soapbox, just ask, and I'll gladly climb up and explain all the reasons! But MRSA is a very strong one.

We raise our livestock with no antibiotics. None at all. Years ago, Claire and I heard Ellen Silbergeld, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, speak on the use of antibiotics in livestock. The numbers were staggering. And she made the connection to the ever increasing spread of MRSA and the overuse of antibiotics in animals.

As a farmer, it might be easier, maybe more profitable, to use antibiotics..and the toxic cocktail of other chemicals administered to livestock. We might feel in better control. But the livestock losses are huge where animals get is not a cure all there either.

The farm bill pays farmers to grow corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa. The farm bill does not pay farmers to grow grass. So livestock is confined to small areas, fed the government subsidized grains, fed the antibiotics that are increasingly losing their effectiveness due to overuse. The concentrations of animals in small places causes huge amounts of animal waste to accumulate..and not allowed to compost (because every corner of the land is planted, to get the most money in subsidy) it is sprayed onto the fields wet. It runs off, pollutes our streams, our water, our ability to eat clean fish.

And big agriculture will tell you we cannot feed the world in the small farm way that used to be done. That we would put the Monsanto's,  John Deere's, etc. out of business. That we would not produce enough "food" for all.

At the same time, the medical community is fighting obesity and all of its horrible side effects. Doctors freely say that changing your diet will change your health..that the processed corn and all those by products (high fructose corn syrup, etc.) are a huge part of the top health issues in this country..diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. That if people moved more, ate less processed food that doctors could do interesting work like helping patients who really need time to figure out what is wrong.

The big food companies work to convince us that cooking is hard, that if you make mistakes you are a failure.

Big ag is already banging the drum of how small farms cannot and will not feed the earth. That there are more people than ever on this earth, and land, support, knowledge should not be wasted on researching ways of lower impact food production. Lobbyists fill the corridors of congress, pay for finance campaigns of public officials that will vote in their favor.

And MRSA continues marching into our lives.

We farm without chemicals. Our livestock eats tons of what grows here on our farm. Our food requires some preparation time, some thought. Not a lot, but peel off the label and pop into the microwave will not work with what we grow. For many people, this is a wonderful way to eat and live. Many meals from a whole chicken, including the stock made from the bones. Delicious, tender beef and pork in portion sizes that allow room on the plate for vegetables, grains and fruit.

We do this to offer an option, a different source, for people who want it. Farmers all over the country grow the way we do. You can find one easily.

Here is the article:

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...