Due to the food -processing industry, as American we have the means of eating all kinds of food, no matter the time, the kind of food, the location. We have it all. But “If you know where the food comes from, you might not eat it” (Kenner 2008) This phrase sums everything in perspective that there is a whole world out there that is hidden from us. The common theme of “farms to factories” in all the readings represent the reality of the food industry, how the food is processed and how the role of production is emphasized on “quantity not quality” (Striffler 2004). The labor in the farms and factories are highly intensive as the role of supply and demand increases due to corporations, also companies don't want people to know about the whole process of what is produced and the negative consequences implied within the current United States food system.
In the United States, the grocery store has a variety of selections of non-native and native foods all year round, most of the time we buy prepared food that we don’t put thought into the process, where the food came from and what resources were used to produce all the food we eat. All we ever get to see is “packaged food”. This represents the dislocation of the final product of the food and us as humans. This creates a separation of the final product we see at the stores and not knowing what really goes behind the doors of factories. In recent decades the hog industry has been transformed by the adoption of new and advanced agricultural technologies which has then replaced family labor and small scale farms. The pork-industry has changed dramatically by suddenly seeing the increase of the hog population as Driscoll & Edwards (2014) points out that suddenly, North Carolina had more pigs than people. “The growth of the hog industry from 2 million to 10 million heads and its concentration onto the coastal plain of the eastern North Carolina”. The extinction of farmers that would raise pigs as a method that would supplement a farmers income, the idea of small herds would have access to different shelters and pastureland and the waste of the animals would be used as a natural fertilizer for other crops. In today’s hog industry all are raised using the confined animal feeding operation (CAFO’s). This is a three-stage production; starts off as the hog house, the waste “lagoon” and the spray field. This whole production takes about 5.5 months. Now, since corporations own their pigs “from birth to bacon” they raise them by implementing advanced industrial techniques that makes profit to them, but also adds to the role of the supply and demand as “whereas not so long ago most farmers grew a variety of crops, now most farmers grow just one or two, And although farmers have become more specialized in what they grow, consumers have become more diversified in what they eat.” (Fitzgerald 2003). This can be seen in the industrialization of chicken production in Arkansas. “Tyson produces thousands of “further processed /value-added” meat products. The poultry products include nuggets, patties, franks, pet food, and a range in many shapes, size, textures, and flavors” (Striffler 2004).
In the film Food Inc by Kenner Robert shows how the production of the chicken industry has gained the ability to control the growth of a chicken faster than ever before, this whole idea supports the role of supply and demand as the process of fast growing a chicken has been in place to stay up to date with the global supply and the needs of consumers and also the variety of ways poultry products are made into, which is all we see in the stores. The profits play an important role in determining how the companies are providing consumers with cheap food, but the corporations keep doing this cycle of production regardless of the negative consequences this can imply in the future.
Most of the time we forget about the labor, the idea that in society we think as consumers but not think of the people producing the food (Kendra 2019). The article “Undercover in a Chicken Factory by Steve Striffler talks about how he got himself a job at Tyson factory in his home place; Arkansas. This gave him the ability to experience what it was like to work in a food processing job. The whole story starts when he went up to the receptionist trying to apply for a job; They first stereotype the idea that he would want a mechanic position, as that would be a more adequate position for him. The receptionist was confused and surprised as why “himself” as a white male would want to work on the line. He got to uncover the filthy working conditions, within the factory and also he “learned quickly that “unskilled labor requires immense skill” (Striffler 2004). The job of a ?harinero? was extremely complicated due to the multiple tasks it entitled, such as adjusting the breeder and rebreeding, monitoring the marinade, turning off and on the line and replacing the old flour with fresh flour. “One of the first things he learned was he was going to do the job of two people (Striffler 2004). At the factory he noticed that many of the workers were immigrants, working in the meat plants many would stay at the job for years due to the incentives that Tyson paid around eight dollars an hour more than any other work out in the farm, which provided more hours per week. “Even though on-line jobs are the worst in the plant-monotonously, even dangerously, repetitive. These workers stand in the same place repeating the same motion for an entire shift (Striffler 2004). As a society, we've yet to appreciate all the labor that is being done behind doors, in these farms and factories, especially for people like Roberto. “Poultry plants are, after all, one of the places where workers of the world come together” (Striffler 2004) The coworkers of Shiffler represent the diversity of people working and many of whom abroad seek a new life in search of this opportunity. The United States is a nation that is filled and continues to attract people from other countries. Native-born people and immigrants working the lines are the strength that keeps plants together.
In addition, the policy implication in the agricultural business, show that the policies applied to workers, many continue to work in the industry as an older group of people have been working at Tyson for more than 20 years, they are just waiting for the benefits that are given and gained due to the seniority bestows. And the implications that companies “pay them good” and officers insurance this maintains them satisfied for these jobs and the benefits it coues as for immigrants it's tough. The overarching problem around the country is that undocumented people are taken advantage in poor working conditions, therefore that many immigrant workers have to satisfied themselves with these working conditions due to the fact of fear to the policy of deportation. In the article Undercover in a chicken factory by Steve Striffler, Roberto quickly responds: “outside, we are all fucked. We ‘re in Arkansas.”. Another coworker of him seriously says to him “ Outside you’re a gringo. You are from here. Outside we are Mexicans, but it is different. We’re still screwed, but in different way. We are foreigners. We don't belong. At least here in the plant we belong even if we are exploited. Outside, we live better than in Mexico,but we do not belong. We are not from here and keep to ourselves” (Striffler 2004). This notion that while corporations and factories exploit their workers, this cheap labor might help lower the retail price of goods at the benefit of distributing and producing at the large-scale of operation goods. Meanwhile all of these systems are becoming the norm. The idea of quantity over quality, Has increase the realization of profit with in the agricultural industry. The United states food system have adopted new role of changes which have included less and bigger farms/factories, the increase of food in various types and consumption of foods, and the policies that are applied in order to keep workers, working. Even though these employees are consistently below, to what many would consider an adequate living wage. This is all due to the expense of producing and distributing all the food we see at our local supermarket.
The event that happened after World War 1, many agricultural advocated supporting the increase of industrialized farm methods. The intensity of this event emphasized the idea of standardizing farming in the US. Therefore this skyrocketed the interest of high agricultural and mechanization system, in today’s society. In these systems, there was an aim to maximize yields from available land. American farming, now days has applied the heavy use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. “We do not think, really think about the life of food prior to its arrival at our nearest supermarket”(Carolan 2012). As nowadays there is no sight of farming of crops, farms with free-roaming animals and lush green field. All the practices are done with new technologies and science behind doors. The US food system has evolved, the evolution of the technology and science implemented in the agricultural has expanded even more.
The treadmill analogy is proposed by Willard Cochrane, the explanation that of the increase of industrialized agricultural producers have adopted new technologies and the increase of production yields varies that include the use of agrochemicals and genetic engineering. This method has caused the production to grow and the producer prices to fall. In addition, the idea that farmers, don't have it easy since there is a company behind that manipulates the ideas and manufacturing (Hutchens 2019). All of this relates to both the gain of crops and food animal production by using different methods of diversifying the crops incorporating pesticides and chemicals and methods that would raise livestock for profit benefiting the richer and corporation, not the farmers. Also, the shifting on the production of grains towards fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy productions as this is what more population growth is demanding.
7 The influence of science and technology in food production is the reality that with an increase of population in the world, “we all need food”. Therefore farming land has been taken over by urban expansion and the use of methods that would produce more food, and ideally, in order to do so, that would be a gain from the land utilized. Although the use of pesticides has many benefits within the agricultural production, such as helping kill the potential disease, time-saving and lowering the cost for the consumers. “The dispensary of feed, water and the various antibiotics and pesticides used to prevent disease among the heard is handled by the machinery (Driscoll & Edwards 2013) According to Cochrane, farmers are under tremendous economic pressure to adopt new technologies and increase their operations. (Carolan 2012) This ideology that the technology and science within the United States Society caught many farmers to adopt these practices especially as many thought that the technologies would maximize the yields and the overall the farm efficiency of production and meeting the supply and demand.
In fact, that was all not true in which they believed it would change their lives if they adopted these new methods. But many of the farmers then related to the “treadmill” metaphor: those who have invested in new technologies are essentially running on the same spot. They might be producing considerably more but because of shrinking profit margins they are not profiting widely from these increases of productivity”. (Carolan 2012) Even though many are grateful for these technologies and science, that has influenced the increase of production, there is many risks behind that workers and society had fallen to. The values of chemicals and pesticides have then affected technology and science. As we chose a new technology, there has to be more thought into weighing the cost and the benefits. Therefore science and technology have impacted society by applying the risk by using these methods. In the process of food production; the advancement of corn and diversifying the crop into corn syrup, and many other food items. Has increased the risk of high risk of health problems. In addition, many farm workers, though they are low paying the field work is very dangerous.
Many die in relation that are liked to their employment. “ Over 25 percent of CAFO workers suffer from respiratory diseases, ranging from bronchitis to mucous membrane irritation, asthma, and acute respiratory distress syndrome” (Donham et. at 2007) A change in technology has driven the force of agriculture into having a big effect in the structure of a “farm” and also the economies of the rural/communities in the business. Farmers have developed this strategy of pursuing new technologies, or many of the farmers that maintain themselves small, increase the risk of going out of business, due to the fact that many cannot meet the demands of the companies and this causes to not being to keep up with the treadmill aspect. This also puts into perspective as the crops and animals are applied with chemicals and fertilizers many could cause an increase in toxic food. This whole process can also be reversed as we can impact science and technology through regulations. If we regular the fertilizers and chemicals used in the products and the production.
Many farmers today cannot make enough money to survive in the agricultural industry, due to the treadmill. Many cannot even survive without the supplements off-farm income and government subsidies. In addition, this also makes farmers rely on government payments and help, in order to keep the treadmill going.
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