With larger farms today, do farmers still produce quality agricultural products?

Posted: August 17, 2018

Answer: Yes, the quality and standards of food produced in the United States are second to none.

Very few items that we buy today last as long as we think they should and are usually cheaper to replace than to repair. That is not the case with the agricultural products that farmers produce today.

Across the world, “Made in the USA” is a sought after item when it comes to food. The quality and standards of food products are second to none in the U.S., especially in animal proteins.

American farmers are blessed to have several things working to their advantage. Among them are productive farmland and agricultural companies. Ag companies have literally invested billions of dollars to allow farmers to have access to top level seeds, animal genetics and nutrition, and technology. This allows farmers to produce more while using less.

In pork production, genetic companies have developed through research more prolific female pigs that are able to farrow more pigs per litter. These companies have been able to cross pigs with the right male genetic line to get a market hog that is lean, healthy, and able to grow to larger weights. While not every pig is exactly the same, they are much closer alike than in years past. This allows a packer to know with certainty the kind of meat they will be buying from a farmer.

Nutritional companies, through research, provide ideal diets for the pigs. This plays an important role in the quality of meat. After all, you are what you eat! Balanced diets of quality feed leads to quality meat.

Technology has allowed the building of state-of-the-art barns that make raising pigs easier on both pigs and people. Climate-controlled barns keep pigs comfortable, healthier, and reduces stress on them. Caretakers are able to care for more pigs with less labor. All these things allow a farmer to produce a better product at a lesser cost and in larger numbers. And in the end, the consumer is able to receive a quantity of quality pork.

We also have a great infrastructure of roads, railroads, rivers and ports throughout our country which helps us to transport our products. Pigs need to leave the farm to go to packing plants and good roads help that. Over 26% of the pork produced in the United States finds a home outside of the country. Roads and railroads get the product to ports quickly and efficiently so it can get to wherever it is headed often ending up cheaper than what other countries can produce it for.

While the phrase “they just don’t make ‘em like they used to” is often thought to be negative; that’s not the case when it comes to American agricultural products. No, we don’t make ‘em like we used to – we make it better! Better quality and a better price.

Carl Heide – Fourth generation hog and grain farmer, DeKalb