Thanks to modern technology and research advances, one farmer today is able to produce enough food to feed 144 people, almost 100 more than just 50 years ago. This fact is important because of the 300 million people living in the U.S., less than two million — or less than 2 percent — are directly involved in raising animals and crops to feed our entire nation.
When critics of this modern miracle produce movies like the recently released Food Inc., it is not only an assault on American farmers and ranchers, but it is also an assault on families who cannot afford — or simply do not choose — products that cost more just because of the method in which they were produced. This documentary-style movie is one-sided, negative and misleading about the way food is produced and sold in the U.S.
The filmmaker promotes the organic and local niches to become the dominant way of producing food, but he completely fails to disclose the impact this vision would have on worldwide food supplies and on farmers' and ranchers' ability to grow ample food supplies. Worse yet, the film suggests that affordable food is nothing to brag about, and consumers should be willing to pay more for food that is produced in systems that the film advocates.
Especially in today's economic climate, we consider that approach to food affordability incredibly elitist. Such elitism may appeal to those who can afford it, but for the vast number of Americans, the approaches advocated in the movie will further ratchet up the financial stresses they already feel in their everyday lives, with no proven benefits to their overall well-being. What's more, most American families are on very tight budgets, especially as the unemployment rate swells to nearly 10 percent. Now, more than ever, it is important for food to remain affordable.
Consumers who wish to buy the organic or local foods like those featured in the film should have that choice, but safe, nutritious and affordable food for everyone should remain the most important feature of our nation's food system. The Animal Agriculture Alliance finds the movie's misleading information about how today's wholesome, nutritious and abundant food supply is produced offensive.
Today's farmers and ranchers have a responsibility to feed our nation's 300 million people. Fortunately, American farmers and ranchers are able to produce enough food to feed not only the population of the U.S. — and do so at the lowest cost of any developed nation — but they are also able to export food to many other nations which are unable to feed their growing populations.
The productivity of the farmers and ranchers that provide us with meat, milk and eggs is not the result of irresponsible or inhumane practices, but rather decades of hard work, scientific study, innovation in animal care, in depth examination of animal nutrition and thoughtful use of natural resources.
Farmers' and ranchers' highest priority is to produce food in a manner that is responsible to the animals, the environment, their employees, and consumers.
For the facts about food is produced in the U.S., visit www.safefoodinc.com. Additional information about farmers', ranchers', feed and food producers' commitment to their animals, their land, public health and food safety can be found on the Alliance's website at www.animalagalliance.org.