I was watching a talk by Joel Salatin recently and he brought up this topic. It inspired me to take the subject and expand upon it.
I have a question to ask you.
What would you do if your farmer showed up at the next Farmer’s Market driving a BMW?
Would you be offended?: “He’s gouging us!”
Would you be annoyed?: “He’s making as much money as my lawyer.”
Now ask yourself this: Would you be offended if your doctor showed up in a BMW?
Because you want to know that your doctor is successful. Driving a BMW means that your doctor is successful. Being successful means that he’s smart and knows what he’s doing.
So why are some people against farmers making the same kind of living as their doctor?
What’s the difference between your doctor and your farmer? I would argue that your farmer is the more important one. Your farmers grows the food you eat everyday, your doctor only treats you when you get sick. Get sick after eating unhealthy food. You can live without a doctor, you can’t live without a farmer.
Why should your farmer have to make so much less than your doctor?
For the last 75 years, most of the major crops in the united states have been subsidized. This is because farmers cannot make a living wage selling their products at commodity prices. This has created a public that is used to cheap food. They don’t understand that it costs much more to raise this food than what they’re paying in the grocery store.
Smart & skilled people don’t work for minimum wage.
Farmers should be able to make a decent living. If they can’t, then unskilled people will be the only ones growing our food. We will have to worry about contaminants and heavy metals. E-coli in our spinach. Millions of pounds of contaminated meat being recalled. Not to mention all the food that comes from other countries.
Not all countries have strict laws on quality control of food items. You may remember the scare about arsenic in chinese apple juice. There was mercury in farm raised fish. Lead paints in children’s toys, dog chews, etc. Our government cannot check every container that comes through a port. In fact, they check less than 2%.
Underpaid people don’t care about quality, they have other things to worry about. Like how to feed their own family. They don’t care if your spinach ends up with E-Coli on it. They just collect their meager paycheck and go home.
This is the situation we have with industrial factory farming. The big corporations force everything into a system, then hire the cheapest people they can find to do the jobs. Much like McDonald’s. McDonald’s doesn’t have to pay more than minimum wage, because anyone can do each job.
Americans suffer from what I call the Walmart Mentality. They want everything: cheaper, cheaper, cheaper. And they don’t care about quality anymore. If it breaks, they’ll just buy another one. It’s cheap.
Let’s take a chicken farmer for example. Many of them make less than the average office worker. There are many chicken farmers that may have 20,000, 40,000, or even 60,000 chickens on their farm at a time, but the salary they earn isn’t even enough to quit their day job.
Is it really that important that you can buy 50 chicken nuggets for $15?
Quality Costs More
You may not like that Roto-Rooter charges twice as much as Dave’s Plumbing, but you can be sure that Roto-Rooter won’t put a hole in your pipes or track mud through your living room. That’s the cost of quality.
The same can be said about food. When local farmers charge twice as much as the supermarket, it’s not because we’re trying to gouge our customers. This is how much it really costs to raise high quality meats. It’s very labor intensive to make sure every chicken has fresh clean pasture everyday. It costs more to buy NON-GMO feed by the ton, instead of by the trainload. We don’t want the cheapest feed possible. We want quality feed.
Now I ask you, who should be driving the BMW?