Archive for the ‘Industrial Agriculture’ Category

Photo from knox_tri’s flickr stream

It’s not often that slaughterhouses allow reporters inside to photograph the proceedings. So I was surprised to this slideshow in North Carolina’s Charlotte Observer.

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Hey guys! Guess what? Maybe the USDA inspection process isn’t bulletproof!
After a Humane Society worker released disturbing footage of animal abuse at a Chino, CA slaughter plant that supplies (of all things) the school lunch program, the USDA shut the plant down and is scrambling to cover its sprawling, bureaucratic ass.

He’s watching…even if the USDA isn’t
Photo from Mark Lorch’s fllickr stream

Actually, I *am* disappointed that this kind of oversight could occur. Honestly, I don’t know what the fuck these people are doing. On the one hand, you have small-time meat producers who can’t get their product to market because of USDA regulations and on the other, big, USDA-inspected plants where all kinds of shenanigans are going on while the inspection regime is asleep at the wheel.

This is just bullshit.

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Corn harvest, Minnesota 2005
Photo from rsgreen89’s flickr stream

The man arguably most closely identified with modern industrial agriculture (at least in the U.S.) died in his sleep on February 2. Memorials are predictably very divergent in tone, from those extolling to those decrying the changes wrought under his reign as Secretary of Agriculture under Presidents Nixon and Ford.

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Corn field in North Dakota
Photo from Matt Dente’s flickr stream

From a promotional video for Pioneer Herculex seed:

“If we were to take 20 kernels off the tip of this ear on a population 30,000 stand, that’s gonna be about a 6 bushels per acre loss; or $12; or you could even take it to $30 a bag.”

Being that the extent of my exposure to farming is restricted to a season on a 4-acre organic farm, it’s pretty amazing to me to consider the scale of what farming really is in this country. I’m not trying to shill for DuPont and all the other chemical companies-turned seed companies, but it’s an interesting illustration of just how much food gets produced by a relatively small segment of the population.

Were we to have grown corn on the farm I worked on, it’s doubtful that a few kernels here or there would have made much of a difference – we would have just sold the ears (assuming the damage wasn’t grotesque) and that would have been that. Of course, on a 10,000 acre corn farm, few kernels off each ear can obviously add up to an awful lot of corn.

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Photo from skookumchick’s flickr stream

What? Is this not what you think of when you think “farm”? Here’s an interesting photo pool on flickr of large-scale agriculture.

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