In western Ohio, we enjoy the good fortune of traditional family farms that use the latest technologies to provide affordable, wholesome options at our local grocery stores. All-to-often it seems our local agriculture is under attack by those who oppose traditional family farms. In particular a push for cage-free chickens raises concerns about our ability to provide enough food to feed the world.
Popular marketing trends are providing a larger consumer base for meats and eggs that are raised in these less efficient manners. As farmers respond to these fads it is changing our farm outcomes for generations. The demands of this fad call for abandoning the advanced techniques that have defined our ability to provide the most affordable and wholesome food products ever available in the marketplace. Consumer choice is something that I’ve always supported but we must be cautious of misleading marketing campaigns.
When they market cage free chickens they forget to point out that the chickens live and walk in their own manure, as opposed to caged chickens which are elevated off the floor and allow for regular cleaning, increasing sanitation and health. Free range chickens are also free to peck at one another, leading to injuries and higher mortality rates and lower yields not-to-mention damaged or bruised meat.
Barns with caged chickens can house one third to two thirds more chickens, further reducing costs and environmental impacts, while fulfilling the needs of our local grocery stores and those hungry around the world.
Advancements in animal breeding and mechanization have led to drastic increases in the yields over the past century. According to the USDA, productivity of farms has tripled from 1948 to 2000. Automated collection and cleaning of eggs has made them affordable and easily accessible today while keeping the exact same nutritional value of eggs from uncaged chickens. Our family farms simply cannot meet today’s egg and chicken demand with yesterday’s farming techniques.
The war on production agriculture threatens our ability to provide affordable, healthy food for our families and future generations. All-to-often this fad condemns traditional family farms and tries to push us back to technology that is half a century outdated.
The truth is, the people behind this fad don’t want us to eat protein and want to increase the price of wholesome food. Please join me in eating only food from traditional family farms. Let’s call it, “eat traditional!”
Please give me your opinion on this topic and others in the news this month by completing an online survey at tinyurl.com/buchyapril2016
Rep. Jim Buchy can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 614-446-6344. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.