Iowa is known for its farming. In fact, 85% of the Hawkeye state’s land is dedicated to crops, farming, and agriculture production.
Unfortunately, many of Iowa’s farms have begun practicing factory farming, a harmful and dangerous farming method that allegedly optimizes crop results — but at a glaring cost. In this article, we’ll discuss the dangers of factory farming and how we can return to Iowa’s glory days.
What Is Factory Farming?
Factory farming is a modern agricultural system characterized by the intensive confinement of animals in large-scale operations. These operations are designed to maximize production efficiency and minimize costs, but they come at the expense of animal welfare, the environment, and human health.
The history of factory farming goes back to the early 1900s when technological advancements and changes in consumer demand led to a shift toward intensive animal production. The increasing demand for meat, eggs, and dairy products — along with the development of new technologies and chemicals — made it possible for farmers to produce these products on a large scale.
Two of the key innovations that led to the development of factory farming were synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. These chemicals were used to improve crop yields and control pests, which allowed farmers to produce more food on less land. Combined with the increasing demand for meat, this led to the development of large-scale feedlots. There, animals were confined in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions and fed a diet of grains and supplements.
Another impactful development in factory farming was the use of antibiotics and growth hormones. These drugs were used to promote growth and prevent disease in animals, which helped to increase production efficiency. However, the overuse of antibiotics in factory farms also led to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can easily become a threat to human health.
In recent years, there has been growing public concern about the negative impacts of factory farming. This has led to a growing demand for organic and biologically-grown produce and a growing movement towards sustainable and humane farming practices.
Today, there is a growing awareness of the negative impacts of factory farming and a growing interest in farms that have safe and sustainable operations. However, factory farms are still upsettingly prominent.
What Makes Factory Farming Dangerous?
As we discussed above, factory farming has a number of negative impacts on the environment, consumer health, and the farms themselves.
One of the main negative impacts of factory farming is the inhumane treatment of animals. In these operations, animals are often confined in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, with little or no access to the outdoors. They are also subjected to a range of cruel practices, such as debeaking, tail docking, and castration, without anesthesia.
The stress and confinement of animals in these conditions can lead to a range of health problems, including disease and injury. While ground beef is a massively popular meat option across the country, the animals we raise for this meat shouldn’t be treated cruelly.
Factory farming significantly negatively impacts the environment both globally and locally. The large-scale confinement of animals produces large amounts of waste, which can pollute air and water. Not to mention the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on factory farms can lead to soil and water pollution and damage ecosystems and wildlife.
This means that the harmful and unsustainable practices these farms are using are damaging not only the surrounding ecosystems but also themselves, which will soon leave the land damaged beyond use.
The intensive use of antibiotics in factory farms also has a negative impact on human health.
These drugs are used to promote growth and prevent disease in animals, but they can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These bacteria can then spread to humans through the food supply, making it more difficult to treat infections.
Another negative impact of factory farming is the loss of small-scale family farms. As factory farms continue to grow in size, they are able to produce food at a lower cost than small-scale farms. This puts small farms out of business, which can lead to a loss of jobs, culture, and knowledge on how to take care of the land.
After the thousands of highly publicized charges by Missouri Farmers against Monsanto, there’s been a rise in small farmer support — but massive factory companies are still able to run wild.
What Is Biological Farming? How Crops Should Be Grown
In contrast to factory farming, biological farming is an approach to agriculture that is focused on using natural methods to grow crops and raise animals. This farming method is centered around using sustainable practices that work in harmony with the environment.
For example, biological farmers use cover crops, crop rotation, and integrated pest management to maintain soil health and biodiversity. They also use natural fertilizers and avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides.
Biological farmers provide ample space and access to the outdoors for animals and avoid the use of growth hormones and antibiotics. This means happier and healthier pigs, which leads to better Iowa pork chops.
Biological farming also has a positive impact on human health. Organic and biologically-grown produce is considered to be safer for human consumption, as it does not contain harmful chemicals.
Using sustainable practices in biological farming can help preserve resources for future generations, such as soil and water.
Factory farming is a modern agricultural system that prioritizes production efficiency and cost-effectiveness at the expense of the welfare of animals, the environment, and human health.
In contrast, biological farming is a sustainable and safe approach to agriculture that prioritizes the welfare of animals, the environment, and human health. It should be the only way of farming as it benefits the farmers, society, and the whole.
The adoption of biological farming practices will lead to a healthier and more sustainable food system, which will benefit us all.