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Review on article of Corporate Farming

Nov 29, 2009   #1
Well, i have to review this article on corporate farming

a)Provide a overview of the issue based on information you've research.
b)summarize the article.
c)evaluate the article using the criteria for evaluation sources.

And I'll be evaluated based on the knowledge on the selected issue, summary is very clear and coherent, and effectively uses of guidelines.
Thank you.

The issue of corporate farming is also known as agribusiness and it has had a profound effect on the way we eat as human begins. The concepts of farming have changed over time as we look at how foods are being produced today to feed our growing population. Today, farms are unlike the farms in the past such as the 1950s, because today we have the tendency to use technology to increase production at a cost of having what we eat today altered in ways that benefits the corporations that produces it. For example, corporate farming have been criticized for its undertaking to concentrate of food production by adopting methods that are designed to maximize crop yield and through the process of vertical integration by means of distribution and sale of food which is produced. This leads to small farms signing deals with big corporations because they cannot produce enough to compete with big companies. In addition, the article points out the measures of food quality, and how cheap food affects us. For example, many questions and research shows that the quality of food which reaches the consumers are seem to adversely impact the nutritional values, freshness and flavours on the farm products they buy. Moreover, these food are genetically modified, have hormone alterations, and modified fertilizations, all of which are practices by corporate farmers to maximize yield and profit in terms of having food that aren't as good as the natural thing.

The article The Meat You Eat: How Corporate Farming Has Endangered America's Food Supply, by Ken Midkiff is about the implications that have been concerning consumers about their health when it comes to buying products that has been produced immensely by enormous corporations. Midkiff highlighted that many consumers who have put thought into what they eat have a sense of discomfort at the counter of the cashier because they can see how corporate products are different than the real ones form a family farm. It has been exemplified that the pork chops are about the same size with the same little rings of fat around their dense, lean centers and "portions of chicken breast are so uniformly cut, skinned and packaged that when one finds a butcher who sells a whole chicken breast -- bones, skin and all -- its doublewide size is startling." (Midkiff, 2004) In addition, rows of beef are laid out on Styrofoam trays and are nicely wrapped that "E.coli and mad cow disease seem like nothing more than headlines that happened to someone else." (Midkiff, 2004)

According to Midkiff, corporate farming is killing the land, killing communities, and even killing us. He talks about the Niman Ranch and its efforts to help private pig farmers in Iowa sell their pork through is sustainable farm operations. The company helps small farms where all the fundamentals of farming exist such as having the animals produce manure that fertilizer the crops that feed the animals and provide profits in a small, healthy, and sustainable cycle. Surprisingly, the number of full-time farmers in Canada is less than 1 percent of the population.

Midkiff predicts that most meat and milk in supermarkets are supplied from large producers who raise cows, chickens, and pigs as production units in voluminous confinement operations in states/provinces or countries that the laws are favourable to operations so huge that manure-run off kills everything it touches. He intricate that the environmental impact is dreadful and that McDonald County, Miss., comprises 13 million broiler chickens and a few hundred thousand turkeys; plus in a town in Ohio had 15 million chicken operations that produced that school officials struggled to keep students fly-free. In Missouri, many townspeople were forced to buy air conditioners and move inside due to the 80,000-hog operation run by Premium Standard Farms, Inc., because of the polluting factory that did not function as the farm that the towns leaders thought it would when they approved such operations. All of this is a result of corporate farming.

Midkiff points out some facts behind what he calls "big pig, big beef" which is about how "large corporations control everything from feed laced with antibiotics and appetite-enhancing heavy metals to the slaughterhouses and packaging plants -- from semen to cellophane." (Midkiff, 2004) He states that today there are only three commercial breeds of hogs, one of broiler chickens, one of dairy cattle, one of salmon and two of beef and with the lack of biodiversity, diseases are commons and so is the use of antibiotics due to the tight captivity.

As stated, some corporations have enough financial and political powers to exploit animals, land, and workers for example bringing people from Mexico to work as meatpackers for $7 an hour and promising them free apartments. This is far from the reality when they got here; some had to sleep on the floor in hampered mobile homes with five other workers and only cold-water running. One Mexican man describes his experience as a worker who could not keep up and could not leave his line to even pee. He slipped after two weeks and chopped off two of his fingers but sadly could not reattach it because of lack of medical coverage. Midkiff writes. "The large slaughterhouses/packing plants, though owned by some of the richest corporations in the world, have turnover rates of more than 100 percent a year due to hard work and low pay." (Midkiff, 2004) This is what corporate farming does to those that are powerless in order to gain profit, then selling these enhanced products to consumers who are at even greater risk of danger because of the stuff used to enhance some products that can lead to many health matters.

Author: the author Ken Midkiff is an activist on the issue of sustainability; he speaks for family farms and opposes advocates. He has a stake in this topic and has even created a site on sustainability and corporate farming to display his countless articles that he has written on the topic and to showcase his two books. His qualification might be because he is the Director of the Ozark Chapter - the Missouri Chapter - of the Sierra Club and that he has published two books, one on the topic of corporate farming. He also serves on the Feedlot Working Group of the national Clean Water Network and the State Technical Committee of the NRCS. His background of when he was a child and as a member of the Future Farmers of America may have swaying some of his opinions in a certain direction. Because when he was 12 he used to go around to neighbours each spring he would raise a few pigs, then his family would kill two or three then sell the rest. That was the way he believes farming was meant to be but today corporate farming has changed all that.

Evidence: Meat You Eat: How Corporate Farming Has Endangered America's Food Supply (2004), by Ken Midkiff was written for the San Francisco Chronicles, a credible newspaper. The article combines factual evidence with Ken Midkiff's personal beliefs. Midkiff discusses the problems of corporate farming by using facts such as: "The environmental impact of such operations is appalling. In McDonald County, Miss., home to 13 million broiler chickens and a few hundred thousand turkeys, every stream is on a government "impaired water body" list." (Midkiff, 2004) He also voices his opinions with what he has proven through his researches when writing his books. It's an opinionated article backed with factual evidences, and Midkiff's experiences from his organizations and research.

Bias:Meat You Eat: How Corporate Farming Has Endangered America's Food Supply (2004), by Ken Midkiff contains little biases because it was formulated by factual evidences, but it may have had some bias because the author also stated his personal beliefs as part of the evidence. From his experiences of when he used to live in a farm and the interviews he have done with the Mexican man who lost his fingers and wasn't allowed to pee during his shift because he was behind in his line. Moreover, that they stayed in mobile homes when was promised apartments. This might be true as for the person he has interviewed but it may not be the case for every corporate farming companies because he only presented only one side of the story when the company clearly didn't have the apartments ready when the workers started working(at the time when he did the interview.

Timeliness: The article was published Sunday, August 8, 2004, so it is not too old, but also, it is not very recent either. Its still can pass as a credible source because it is only 5 years old and not historical. In addition, the content of the article is still relevant in today's society because corporate farming still exists and has gotten bigger with new technologies and efficiency standards to feed our larger population compared to 5 years ago. However, the issues till remains the same, holding the article viable as a source of information. Midkiff made it clear that as long as corporations can profit from this type of farming, they will continue to do so. Much of the evidence in the article speaks for today and the article ahs even gotten a few reviews form credible newspaper editors.


1. Midkiff, Ken. "'Big meat,' big trouble / Corporate farming is wrecking the land -- and us -- says Ken Midkiff." How Corporate Farming Has Endangered America's Food Supply. ST. MARTIN'S PRESS, 8 Aug. 12004. Web. 29 Nov. 2009.

2. Welcome to Ken Midkiff.com. Web. 29 Nov. 2009.

Nov 29, 2009   #2
1. I can't find the article. I can find book quotes from Google, but no article, and that link 1 is a dead one
2. try summarizing more and being more concise. I tried reading some but it's not much evaluation. overview for part a) seems fine.
about biases, there are always biases, from where information is found, from what is used as information, what is excluded, etc.

From his experiences of when he used to live in a farm and the interviews he have done with the Mexican man who lost his fingers and wasn't allowed to pee during his shift because he was behind in his line. Moreover, that they stayed in mobile homes when was promised apartments.

how it THIS bias evaluation?

timeliness is good. article ahs
Nov 30, 2009   #3
I was trying to say it was a bias because the interview was done a few days after the person started working and the company perhaps didn't have the apartments ready at the time?

As for the line, I'm not sure why it's not working.

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