Farming has been typically a high investment, small margin, which can lead to low returns, type business requiring long hours and quite often long periods of solitude. We are an extreme minority, less than 2% of the population, and very, very misunderstood. This business of high investments and high cost inputs and low returns has gotten even worse in the last 35 years for most all of us in the business. The folks selling the inputs have gotten very good at what they do and in most cases make most of the money made at the farm gate.
My Australian friend, John, and I have had a really good conversation about this very thing just yesterday. As farmers we have been very gullible when the input salesmen come around. The only thing these guys promise to do is to increase production if you buy their most popular gadget. And for the most part production has been increased. But increasing production on the farm all most always reduces profits. Bigger production does not equal bigger profits. Bigger bulls bred to our cows to produce bigger calves to sell, create bigger heifers from those cows that go back into our herd which in turn require more maintenance costs. Breeding milk cows for more and more milk builds cows with life expectancies of less than four years old when other herds have cows aged 15, 16, 17 years old and more. And in this case those costs always exceed the value of the extra milk or weight from those calves. Not to even mention the humane consequences brought about from this type of breeding.
From a very early age we are taught that more is better and it becomes very easy for professional marketers to tap into this physiological programming as John describes it. Generally speaking when one of these salesmen succeed with their sales pitch another one comes along next year to fix the problem that the last new gizmo caused and because we have been programmed in this manner they most often succeed. Creep feeding calves and cross breeding as an example. How could anybody fall for this. And most college ag departments and farmers have been so brained washed they see value in both of these money loosing schemes. Most of these farmers will still argue for these practices while their wives drive off to work to support their poor farming decisions.
As farmers we have become the suckers for these professionals and now we actually are producing very little from our farms. We have become consumers of things from a bag, box, syringe, a tractor seat, etc. We will have to learn how to become producers once again. It takes about two years to finish a quality grass fed steer on the ranch. We can cram 50,000 steers into a feed lot and force feed corn and butcher them in about 15 months. One big problem is in this scenario in about 8 out of 10 years this system produces a net loss on every steer fed. It is primarily tax dollars that keep this system perpetuating, that is your tax dollars. And it doesn't produce more food. We also destroy most of our quality farming ground from soil erosion, deplete soil organic matter and soil biology from excessive applications of anhydrous ammonia, potassium chloride,(chemical fertility), and contaminate our precious limited supply of drinking water through heavy doses of pesticides that run out of drain pipes from these oceans of corn fields that grow the corn and beans for these poor animals. And of course when this excellent type of farm ground is used to grow and force feed livestock, we create shortages of human foods that could be grown there instead.
Raising cattle in this manner has become so non profitable, our nations cow numbers are down to what they were in the early 1950s. And our population of meat eaters has grown and continue to grow many times over. Acre after acre of pasture land on farm after farm sets idle, where once many cattle grazed. This because farmers see no way to make a profit from livestock. With only an elementary understanding of economics I can speculate where the price of food will rise to under this system.
So what if it takes a little longer to fatten a calf at the ranch instead of at the knee deep feces infested feed lot, we all are winners. That is except the fellows selling last years fix-a-flat products that we didn't think we needed until it was made available. This whole 'sell the farmer things he has no need for' mentality has horrendous effects on our entire nation. As our farmer numbers continue to dwindle, primarily because of this system, these once dedicated farmers are left broke and wondering what they did wrong. Most people involved in this ridiculous system have know idea what is happening. Farmers have been struggling from this system for so long now that most think this is normal. The production of food trumps every endeavour known to man. If you do not believe me try and not eat this month, this week, or even today. Not only does this situation back farmers into the corner financially, the food produced from this system guided by these money hungry, narrow minded fools, is a food production system that yields substandard food that has created a health problem in the U.S. like no other time in the history of man.
The diet of a feed lot beef is made up of primarily GMO corn, that would in most likely have been drenched in Glyphosate, a very strong weed killer, look on the label of your 2-4D bottle, a lot of GMO soybean for protein, think estrogen here, and quite often other dead animal parts, of course they must be from non ruminating animals, because that would be illegal. The feed additive or antibiotic ruminsun more than likely will be added, better known as an ionophore, and a hormone implant or two or three would be injected. Sounds yummy doesn't it.
Since this ruminating animal was designed by nature to eat grass only, this high starch diet begins a process of destroying his digestion which will require more antibiotics, and of course his internal organs like the liver may very well become inoperable as well as another organ or two before he goes to slaughter. A better way to say this is he might be just a little sick before he winds up on your table.
Lets compare this to a beef that is raised on grass and mothers milk. This is a short story. You simply eat a quality meat that nourishes your body with out concern with all of the above.
Big ag would like you to believe that what the animal eats has no baring on the meat. That would be like saying it doesn't matter what your kids eat so feed them the cheapest pizza, soda, and corn chips you can find every day.
Big ag also believes in pasteurizing raw milk so that they can feed and treat those cows in anyway they wish to and the milk will be just fine. Sort of like how they irradiate the meat from the cows above. So do you believe you eat what you eat eats? And do you believe that simply heating the milk or meat from sickened animals makes that product consumable?
I found an interesting test done on a farm where one calf was fed pasteurized milk and the other calf fed raw milk. I suggest you read through this short article and make up your own mind.
By the way, we eat only grass fed meats, and raw milk here on our ranch. We are happy to share our food that we produce with anyone. Most people have a doctor, a lawyer, a mechanic, and many even a plumber. A lot of people I talk to are now finding the need to have their own farmer. Again, make up your own mind. If you would like for us to be your farmer, contact us.