As farmers we are facing a whole new invasion of privacy. There is a journalist in Washington D.C. named Will Potter. This Potter fellow has raised $30,000 in 5 days. To do what you ask? To use drones to spy on American farmers. He believes we are mainly factory farms who mistreat our animals. I cannot even begin to explain the level to which this infuriates me. What about a right to privacy? May be Mr. Potter would enjoy us flying a drone over his house watching him. I’m going to leave my thoughts on that there. I honestly don’t know if I can describe in words the level of wrong I believe this is.
This leads us to the bigger question, these factory farms he is speaking of, what are they? See I’ve been raised in the ag industry my entire life. All 26 years of it on the farm. I have never encountered a farm on any tour that looked like a factory. I’ve seen large farms, yes. But no farms with conveyors, machines nor assembly lines like I would associate with a factory.
I’ve seen farms with lots of animals, yes. These animals were housed comfortably in barns that kept them out of the elements. They were warm in the winter, cool in the summer. Comfy bedding, accessible food, clean water. You see to me I don’t care how many animals you have. I want to see that they are well cared for. That is possible on any size farm. 1 animal- 100,000 animals.
There are some small farms I drive by that make my skin crawl. Cows in mud and manure, very visible from the road. It appears they milk very few cows. I interned on a dairy that milked 500+ cows. They all had names, tears were shed when they left. It has nothing to do with numbers, it has to do with the farmer. Good or bad farmers come in all shapes and sizes.
Our farm is average in size compared to other dairy farming numbers. We milk 120 cows that live in a free stall barn. They are milked 3 times a day. In between milkings they have access to all the feed, clean water and comfy sand bedded stalls they want to use. Is this what this Potter fellow wants to see? Happy cows? Because I have a feeling he will be very bored in his findings.
My other beef with this creep is this: The over whelming majority of farms in the United States, 98%, are family owned. My kids play in the yard at our farm daily. I don’t want some weirdo watching them. I worry enough as it is. I don’t want to have to be concerned my kids are being watched from the sky while they play. Any one can be behind that drone. Gives me the creeps.
It’s scary to me that people will drop $30,000 in 5 days so we can be spied on. I don’t think as farmers we are too intimidating. If you want to know where your food comes from ask. Don’t send some creep with a drone in to spy on my family!
Look at the following photos and you decide. Factory farm or family farm?