Support Family Farms.
I saw this on a bumper sticker on my way home from the field Friday night. Taking a closer look, I realized the slogan was associated with a recent “Anti-GMO” campaign*.
I have seen this messaging used before in “Anti GMO” campaigns. It continues to boggle my mind.
Ninety-eight percent of the farms in the United States and 98% of farms in Oregon are family owned and operated. Family farms come in many sizes, structures and types. They use different methods & technologies, choosing what is best for their farms and family. This includes using GMOs, more accurately known as genetic engineering or biotechnology.
A quick google search of “Support Family Farms” immediately lists three organizations that claim to do just that. However, these groups loudly advocate against biotechnology, corporations and whatever a “factory farm”** is. In their world only if you are small, organic and sell locally then you are a family farmer. Everyone else is Big Ag and controlled by corporations.
My family farm, that I am 5th generation on, does not fit in their box. It is not small, nor organic and we are a corporation. Often I find myself testifying in the legislature on bills that would directly impact our farm. The people testifying against my position are usually associated with the aforementioned organizations.
If these groups support family farms like they claim, then how can they take the opposite stance of me and other family farmers?
Election Day is two months away. Many campaigns, groups & politicians will say they support family farms. If their definition of family farm is anything other than the fact that it is owned and operated by a family then it is wrong. Especially if their agenda includes singling out one type of farming method and thus ultimately limits ALL farmers’ choices.
If you hear “We Support Family Farms” think critically about how the candidate or ballot measure might impact my family farm or others like mine.
There is room for all types of farms, family and otherwise.
Family photo from a few years ago at our family farm. Four generations pictured.
*An “Anti-GMO” campaign is one that advocates for restrictions, bans or labels on biotechnology or genetic engineering. Currently in Oregon there is ballot measure 92 that would require to label food products that contain or may contain ingredients that were produced using genetic engineering. Which I will be sharing more about later.
**Factory farm is a bogus term. There are farms that are vertically integrated, which means they include most, if not all, of the steps between the farm and fork. A factory farm does not exist.