Big farms cause big problems

Production, marketing, financial, legal, and human resource risks. Various tools and strategies can be used to manage each of these risks. Major sources of production risks arise from adverse weather conditions such as drought, freezes, or excessive rainfall at harvest or planting.

Big farms cause big problems

Comments 84 comments by Lorraine Murray Most people are aware that dairies in the United States bear little resemblance to the idyllic pastures of yesteryear.

As with other branches of animal agriculture, such as chicken and egg production, hog farming, and beef production—as well as crop growing—small, traditional dairy farms have been steadily pushed out of the business by large agribusiness concerns.

The American dairy industry annually produces about 20 billion gallons of raw milk, which is processed and sold as butter, cheese, ice cream, and fluid milk. There are between 65, and 81, U. While the large number of brands and labels on store shelves would seem to indicate a diversity of sources, in reality many of these brands are owned by a handful of large corporations.

As the number of dairy farms has decreased, the size of those remaining has increased.

Too Much Manure

Between andthe number of U. Because big businesses typically seek continuously increasing profits, production must be maximized, almost always at the expense of the cows in one way or another.

The cows must be pushed to produce more and more milk. Most dairy cows are raised in concentrated animal feeding operations CAFOs ; about 10 percent of those are considered large CAFOs, each with more than dairy cattle.

84 Replies to “The Big Business of Dairy Farming: Big Trouble for Cows”

One of the keys to higher production and higher profits is to increase the milk yield while raising fewer cows. Between andthe number of dairy cows in the United States fell by more than half, yet during that same period, the average annual milk yield more than tripled.

What made this possible, and how has it affected the welfare of the animals? Frequent pregnancy Cows are like any other mammal in that they produce milk for the nurturing of their young; in order to lactate, a cow must recently have given birth.

The Big Business of Dairy Farming: Big Trouble for Cows – Advocacy for Animals

In her natural state, a cow gives birth after nine months of gestation and nurses her calf for seven months to a year. This separation causes great distress to the mother, who would normally feed the calf more than a dozen times a day and, like other mammals, forms a strong bond with her young soon after birth.

Male calves are killed or sent off to be raised for veal or beef. Females become dairy cows like their mothers; frequent replacement of herd members is necessary because the death rate of dairy cows is very high.

Cows on factory farms give birth once a year as a result of artificial insemination. About two to three months after calving, a cow is once again impregnated, and the cycle begins again. Thus, dairy cows are induced to produce milk for most of the year. High-protein feed and growth hormones Cows naturally eat grass, which is how the bucolic image of dairy herds grazing in pastures became so well recognized.

A diet of grass, however, is high-fiber and of low nutritional density and does not result in a high milk yield. The milk produced from this diet would be enough to feed a calf, but it is not enough to satisfy market needs. So modern dairy cows are fed a low-fiber, high-protein diet of grains such as corn and soy along with animal by-products.

As ruminants, they have stomachs with four compartments that are made to process high-fiber grass; partially digested food, or cud, is regurgitated to again be chewed and swallowed, a process that occupies cows for up to eight hours a day.

The feed given to cows on dairy farms, however, does not lend itself to this process and is thus difficult for them to digest, causing health problems. In addition, the use of high-protein diets—because they contain animal protein, including, in the past, tissue from diseased cows—has been implicated in the proliferation of mad cow disease.

Another tool to increase milk yield is the use of the genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH recombinant bovine growth hormone.

This hormone contributes to an average milk production of pounds of milk per cow per day, 10 times as much milk as a calf would need.Why Corporate Agriculture is a Problem. The political and economic power of big agribusiness needs to be checked and balanced by responsive governments and civil society to create a socially, environmentally and democratically balanced food production and distribution system around the world.

In Big Farms Make Big Flu, Rob Wallace stands boldly on the shoulders of giants in clearly expressing the problems with our agroindustrial system that so many already see but far too few are willing to mordant wit and a keen literary sensibility, Wallace follows the story of this dysfunctional—and dangerous—system wherever it may lead, without regard to petty concerns of.

The Farming Problem 49c.

Big farms cause big problems

The Farming Problem. Years of plowing and planting left soil depleted and weak. As a result, clouds of dust fell like brown snow over the Great Plains. Farmers faced tough times. In only about one out of every ten American farms was powered by electricity.

Small cracks can cause big problems. Help prevent your pipes from freezing with these simple tips.

Big farms cause big problems

Aug 07,  · Watch video · This spring's large E. coli outbreak caused by tainted romaine lettuce may have been caused by a large industrial farm. That's according to a .

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"Large farms are bad for the environment." | The Farming Problem Years of plowing and planting left soil depleted and weak. As a result, clouds of dust fell like brown snow over the Great Plains.
What Is a Factory Farm? There is no shortage of news items on the hundreds of thousands of hybrid poultry—each animal genetically identical to the next—packed together in megabarns, grown out in a matter of months, then slaughtered, processed, and shipped to the other side of the globe. Less well known are the deadly pathogens mutating in, and emerging out of, these specialized agro-environments.

Air pollution from large-scale livestock farms impairs lung function in neighbors who live nearby, a new study from the Netherlands, and reported by Reuters, shows.

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