Hog Farms and How They Affect The People of the Great Plains Region
Large hog farming corporations caused many controversial arguments in recent years. They are the targets of many environmental activists and for many good reasons. It has been argued that large corporate hog farms are environmentally unsafe, and destroy the conventional pork industry. It is difficult to find arguments that address the issue of what large hog farms do to prevent the problems they create. Mark Grey, a professor of anthropology, is concerned with the development and growth of rural communities. His research lead him to investigate the problems that plague large hog farming corporations. Most of the arguments that I have read are against the large corporate hog farms. Their reason being that the corporations are detrimental to people, especially small hog farmers. They pollute the environment that surrounds them. I found that there is a lack of articles that argue support the concentration and vertical integration of the hog farming industry. There are many good things that hog farms do, such as feed thousands of people and assist in the research of many new medical technologies. Yet, even in light of these good qualities there are many bad qualities also.
Hog farms affect every one who lives in their surrounding areas. They also hurt small privately owned hog farms. The small hog farmers are not able to sell their hogs as cheap as the large corporations, because they cannot sell hogs in large quantities, as the corporations are able to do. When large hog farms are built they produce great amounts of manure that pollute the water supply and the air that is around them. The odor that large hog farms produce is almost unbearable if you live anywhere near them. More large hog farms are being built, and they are slowly polluting their surrounding areas along with shoving the small farmers out of business. The problems that large hog farms produce are a concern to all of the farmers that have small privately owned hog farms and also any person that lives near them. Overall large corporate hog farms are a threat that is capable of destroying small private hog farms, polluting the air, and contaminating the water around them.
One of the main questions about large corporate hog farms is why do they threaten small privately owned hog farms? The reason is relatively simple; the large hog farms are able to raise hogs in such a great quantity that they can sell them at significantly lower prices. . "As corporate farming has grown, family hog farms have declined by sixty-four percent since 1980" (Hogging the Farm 1). Large hog farming corporations are rapidly expanding just as Mark Grey states, " In 1998, only 50 companies controlled 60 percent of the hog inventory" (Grey 1). If this trend continues the hog farming business will quickly turn into a monopoly. There are several arguments against large corporate hog farms, because the only benefit that they provide is lower meat prices for consumers. These low meat prices are causing small hog farmers to not be able to even make back the money that they paid for their hogs. The only way that the small farmers are able to sell their hogs is if they sell them as specialty hogs, such as free-range hogs that are not fed loads of antibiotics to keep them from contracting disease. A few groups of farmers from Colorado have formed a business where they sell their free-range hog for specialty meat. They were relatively successful in their business and should serve as an example for others like them. It can hardly go unnoticed that the, "vertical integration and concentration in hog production have made it difficult for small, family hog farms to survive" (Grey 169). The dramatic drop in the number of small family owned hog farms is very apparent when the number of farms thirty years ago are compared with recent numbers. "In 1975 there were 661,000 hog farmers in the United States. By...