By Tom Super
This post is cross posted on the Alliance to Feed the Future Blog in celebration of Ag Day 2014.
Our desire to pursue lives and careers away from rural America hasn’t changed the demand for food, feed and fiber — so the number of people who depend on these farmers continues to rise. In order to meet that demand, agricultural production had to evolve dramatically, embracing innovation that would allow us to grow more food and provide more choices with less land and labor.
At the same time, the number of Americans obsessed with food continues to rise, too. Whether it’s snapping #FoodPorn pics on a smart phone, searching for healthier meals or watching the Food Network 24/7, Americans have taken a new interest in every part of the food production process from farm to fork.
A lot has changed in how we produce food in the past 100 years Seeds aren’t planted by hand, fields aren’t tilled by a horse-drawn plow, and chickens aren’t raised by the dozen. Just as we’ve moved on and evolved in our nation’s cities—making everything from our cars to our homes to our phones more efficient—so too have we evolved to improve the efficiency of our food production.
The chicken industry did this by implementing a system known as “vertical integration,” essentially a symbiotic relationship between the farmers who raise the chickens and the companies who make chicken products. In the 1940s, feed mills, hatcheries, farms and processing facilities were all separate entities, but as the rural population dwindled, so did the labor force supporting those operations. Farmers were losing their farms due to volatile market swings and the high cost of feed, so they began partnering with companies who could guarantee financial stability in an otherwise unpredictable industry.
We take food production seriously, because feeding seven billion mouths (and climbing!) is serious business. We know how important food is and we’ve always taken pride in adapting to meet the needs of our consumers. When they wanted quick and convenient, we gave them pre-cut, pre-cooked, pre-packaged products. Our members now offer organic and traditional chicken products and every type of chicken in between.
The newfound interest in food production among Americans is an exciting opportunity for the entire agriculture industry to show how we have evolved to provide the world’s consumers with the highest quality and most abundant food supply, all while decreasing our environmental footprint and maintaining a low cost to consumers. To read more about how chicken is produced, and to meet some of the U.S. farmers raising chickens, visit www.chickenroost.com.