Christina Lee dispels seven common myths about farming.
The world of farming is quite a specialised field (no pun intended) and not one that many people are directly involved with.
People enjoy food, and many take a keen interest in how and where it is produced.
There are, however, some common mistakes that people make when it comes to their understanding of the farming and agriculture world.
Myths about farming
Here are 7 of these myths that I wish to clear up:
Number 1: It is all about the money
Many people believe that people become farmers for the money. Not true.
Significant amounts of time and money are needed to make a farm operate effectively.
Farms are typically passed down from generation to generation, with new farmers taking up the profession because it helps the community.
Number 2: It is all very low tech and traditional
Farming methods have come a long way from cattle pulling ploughs, but the advancements do not stop there.
Farmers collect and analyse data on their soils, nutrients, temperatures, and so much more.
“Years of data research goes into them to produce the perfect crop. Scientists can modify the genes to produce what is desirable.”
Number 3: ‘Natural’ foods are made differently
Hate to ruin this one, but a label with natural printed on it does not mean anything at all.
It is extremely difficult to determine what is natural and what is not. If plants are grown from seeds that have had certain genes removed from them, are they still natural?
Also, many experts believe that a natural product doesn’t make it any better in terms of quality.
Number 4: Farmers spray the same pesticides everywhere
Famers do use pesticides, but there is not a one size fits one.
Different sprays are needed for different purposes. The word pesticide is an umbrella term for a whole host of chemicals.
“Different pesticides target different things. For example, herbicides for weeds, fungicides for fungi, and insecticides for insects.”
Pesticides also differ in how quickly they break down after use and in the levels of toxicity they contain.
Number 5: Organic means better
If there is an organic label on the packaging, stores will charge more for it. So, the produce must be of better quality than things produced in a more conventional way.
In fact, farmers will still use pest control methods in the same ways they always would.
Is there a taste difference in bananas that are organic or not? Make informed decisions and not just on price.
Number 6: Agriculture causes a large amount of greenhouse gases.
This myth is based on methane and machinery. Yes, methane is produced by farms with cattle, but there are not large enough amounts to cause significant amounts of greenhouse gas.
Also, with recent improvements in the quality of machinery, emissions are being lowered all the time.
In fact, less than 10% of the greenhouse gases produced worldwide can be linked to agriculture.
Number 7: It is a man’s world
Absolute rubbish. There is a common belief that farmers are only male.
Not the case, and there are plenty of female farmers who are either continuing the family tradition or seeking employment in the industry. See That’s Farming’s women in ag series.
Conclusion: Myths about farming:
So there you have it, seven myths finally put to bed. It is important to note that although these are myths, people still look for organic or natural labels believing it is better quality.
This is not always the case and can cost more to buy than more conventional produce.
Also, people assume machinery is low tech and that farmers are not educated very highly.
There are very intelligent farmers who use state of the art technologies in their farms.
Christina Lee is a renowned writer in the marketing news and technologies world.