After my post about the Martha Stewart show, I received some heat about organics from some our conventional farming friends. Yes, these people are our friends. Let’s set the record straight. ALL farmers, whether they have 50 cows or 10,000 pigs, are dedicated, hardworking people who wake up everyday to try to produce quality food for the world that is nutritious and safe. Farming is not just a job it is a lifestyle. It takes dedication 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
As new technology is introduced each producer must weigh the cost and benefits and evaluate if it is something that is right for their farm and family. Our family has always been low-cost producers. Before the organic market took off, we were doing the same thing. Low chemical, antibiotic and hormone production. Our goal was to produce the most milk with the lest amount of inputs. The way we saw it, each technology forced us expand to our herd to pay for it. Around 100 cows is what works for our land base and labor inputs. Besides, the county will not let us expand our number of animal units. So we try to produce more on less.
When the organic market gave us an option to do exactly what we had done for years, but twice the value of our milk, of course we took it. If the organic market would ever collapse, we would go back to producing in the conventional market; still not changing our farming philosophy.
We are keenly aware that organic farming does not work in all types of farming operations. It takes good soil and lots of labor. As urban expansion turns prime farmland into development, the poor quality land is left to farm. Will organics work in those situations? We do not have the answer.
Like all good business people, we believe in our product. We believe our product is healthy, safe and a reliable and sustainable food source. We believe organic farming is better for our farm and family. This means we are going to promote our product and tell people our story.
Behind every food option at the grocery store, there is a farm family who produced it. 98% of all farms in the United States are owned by individuals, families or family corporations (We are a family corporation for tax purposes). No matter what their farming practices, farmers daily are trying to produce quality food while weighing the costs of the environment and cost of production. Every farmer is doing what is best for their operation and family.
As a consumer, you must decide what is best for your family as well. We at Zweber Farmers, are just telling our story. There are many stories out there. Please, if you don’t already, get to know a farmer. They are the best people we know.