Theresa Gustafson - MN State Jr Beef Ambassador
Hello again! For those of you that are new here my name is Theresa Gustafson, I am a farmer/rancher in northern Minnesota where I am the fourth-generation living on our family farm. We have 230 cow-calf pairs as well as two hundred head of market steers and heifers. We also farm over a thousand acres of crops. My goals for this blog include: informing the public about issues regarding farming and ranching, teaching about everyday experiences on a farm, and debunking myths surrounding agriculture and the cattle industry. Today, I will be talking about factory farms.
I would like to start off with the definition of factory farming: "a large industrialized farm - especially a farm on which large numbers of livestock are raised indoors or in conditions intended to maximize production at a minimal cost". A large misconception is that factory farms are taking over the agricultural market. However, there are more than 570 million farms in the world. Greater than 90% of them are run by a family and rely on family labor. Family farms produce approximately 80% of the world's food. In Minnesota alone there are 74,542 farms on 26 million acres of land, and about one thousand additional agricultural and food companies. In Minnesota alone, agriculture accounts for three hundred and forty thousand jobs.
Another common misconception is that if you use new technology on your farm, it is a factory farm. We are a family farm and we use technology ranging from tile drainage systems to self-driving tractors. We use the best technology so we can get the best outcome. It doesn't matter if you are a farmer, an office worker, etc. you want to use the best technology available. Technology doesn't determine if you are a family farm or not. Size also does not determine if a farm is a factory farm or family farm. Family farms can be very small or very large.
That's all for today, I hope that I have cleared up some of your questions. Remember I post a blog every Wednesday and Friday, so come back and check them out! The fun fact of the week is: Did you know that Minnesota beef contributes $4.9 billion to the economy? Minnesota beef is amazing! That's all for this week and remember, money can't buy happiness but it can buy cows, which is pretty much the same thing!