My nickname is Bird. What is Ag’s?

My childhood nickname is Bird. And if you were around my family today, you wouldn’t hear my first name used at all.

I like the nickname. It’s simple and easy – but you know what’s really funny? It doesn’t describe me at all! I received the nickname from my Grandma who said I ate like a bird when I was little because I would pick at my food. Ha! Is that ever far from the truth now – I love all foods. Except pickles.

Just the same as how my nickname is misleading, so are nicknames given to agriculture, food and health.

“Big Ag”.

“Swine Flu.”

“Pink Slime”.

“Meat Glue”.

Catchy, right? Sure is. Especially to the media.

Unlike “buzzwards” in agriculture that are popular and positive, lately there has been a whole host of lovely “nicknames” made up by someone (obviously unrelated to ag and food production) that have nicknamed something they do not understand to be confusing and down-right misleading.

I’ve shared about “Pink Slime” and how ag has become a dirty word, but I wanted to focus more on the “Big Ag” nickname. Cari Rincker of the Rincker Law blog does a great job of breaking down what “Big Ag” really means. I’m going to share a few of my favorite points of hers below, but you can read the whole thing here.

What exactly is “Big Agriculture?”  How do we define what is or is not “Big Ag?” And when did it become a bad name?

Is it whether a farm is owned by a family or a corporation? 97% of farms are family owned.  What if shareholders of the corporation or members of the limited liability company are family members? Are we just talking about major U.S. corporations?

Is it a certain number of acres that makes a farm “Big?” According to the National Agriculture Statistics Service, the average U.S. farm size in 1046 acres.  In Illinois, it takes approximately 2000 acres (on average) for a family to generate enough money in crop production that is equivalent to a full-time job.

Is it the fact that the products are “non-organic” that make it “Big Agriculture?” That’s seems silly.  There are a lot of very small farming operations that are not organic.  What about farms that do not qualify under the National Organic Program yet use very holistic management practices and sell produce at the local farmers market?

Read more here! And I would love to hear your childhood nicknames.

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