American Agri-Women is attempting to bridge the gap in the debate over food production. Food, Inc. is a documentary that aims to change the way America eats and the way American food is produced, but many in the agriculture world say the movie did not get it right. American Agri-Women wants to clear up misconceptions from the movie and continue the dialogue about America's food.
"Movies like Food, Inc. demonstrate how important it is that farmers share with consumers how food is produced. And as producers, we are interested in providing that information,” said American Agri-Women President, Chris Wilson. “Women in agriculture have a unique perspective because we are both producers and consumers. We help grow the food, and we also prepare it for our families to eat.”
Unfortunately, the film does not portray agriculture accurately. It suggests the food supply is dominated by corporate farms. However, the 2007 edition of USDA Structure and Finances of U.S. Farms: Family Farm Report, found that 98 percent of farms in the U.S. - more than 2.1 million - are family owned and operated. The truth is, according to Wilson, millions of family farmers work hard every day on their farms and ranches to bring us the food on our tables. Wilson and her family live on a farm of their own near Manhattan, Kan.
Wilson believes without modern agriculture, it would be nearly impossible to produce enough food to support the growing population in the United States and other countries. "As farmers, our goal is to provide the safest, best quality products we can for consumers. There is no one right way to achieve that goal. There is a place for a variety of production methods. Some use more technology than others.
Without the technologies that modern agriculture uses to produce food, we would have a lot less of it, and it would be tremendously more expensive. For instance, without crop protection technology, we would have 40 percent less food, because that amount would be lost to weeds, insects and disease. Without fertilizers, we would have 33 percent less food, because fertilizers provide the nutrients to help plants grow and produce food," said Wilson.
Wilson understands organic local production and modern farming can coexist. "Some growers and consumers want to produce and consume food without these technologies, and that's okay. We in agriculture should be about providing consumers with the food choices they want. But we all need to understand that without the use of agriculture's continually advancing technologies, we will not be able to produce food for the demands of our population. Just as advances in medical technology save lives, advances in agriculture technology provide us with more abundant foods. These advances in technology also increase the sustainability of our food production system and natural resources."
American Agri-Women addresses many of the statements made in the film in the 45-page Agriculture Responses to Food, Inc.
American Agri-Women is a force for truth, a reasoned non-partisan voice for the agricultural community to the public. AAW is the national coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women, with 58 affiliate organizations. Contact Chris Wilson for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or (785) 537-6171.