At the turn of the century, close to 80% of the US population was involved in farming. If you did not grow your own food, you likely knew the person who did. Fast forward to today, and only about 2% of the US population is directly employed in agriculture (USDA NIFA website) . On the positive side, we enjoy more plentiful and economical food than ever before. For example, a recent issue of Newsweek compared prices of various commodities in 1965 with prices today. While the price of an ounce of gold has risen from $252.70 to $1,659.42 from 1965 to 2012, the price of a gallon of milk has fallen from $6.84 to $3.30, and the price of a pound of chicken dropped from $2.81 to $1.33. A key reason why food prices have remained the same or even decreased since the 60’s is more efficient large scale agricultural production systems.
On the downside, industrial farms do concentrate the use of natural resources and pesticides. A post from Chris Ripps of Building Sustainable Lifestyles describes this perspective further:
“Until very recently, the world’s food systems were run by small farmers (less than 10 acres). Most large commercial farms are in the tens of thousands of acres. With this combination of resources; land, equipment, facilities, infrastructure, come inherent weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Crop failures due to flooding, insect infestations, molds and disease are only the beginning of the risks facing mega farms. The more decentralized the food system, the more capable it is to withstand these devastating events.”
While we can point to local community farms and collaboratives as a means for creating sustainable local food cycles, the reality is that large scale industrial farms are here to stay and will continue to play a key role for meeting the food needs of our country and the world. So while local buying habits are important, there is still a need for larger industrial farms that make food production more affordable and healthier for everyone.
We previously discussed the “Double Burden” of malnutrition on the global scale. The global population of 7 billion people includes 10% who are obese and 10% who are facing food shortages. These both comprise a malnutrition epidemic. At BRI we believe that technology and innovative solutions will provide options and solutions for addressing these critical challenges. At BRI we are driven by what we call the “Big Green Chicken” concept – developing products that help farmers grow healthier chickens in a more sustainable manner!
As the founder and CEO of BRI, I have found it very rewarding to be part of a team that has turned a laboratory insight into a product that provides real value for consumers worldwide. But we are not resting on our laurels – moving forward, BRI plans to expand on its current product lines and introduce new products and develop other technologies that will help promote economic and environmental sustainability. Keep up with the latest developments at BRI by visiting our website www.briworldwide.com.