How The Trend of Cultured Meat Will Affect Farmers
If you have ever heard the term “lab meat” or “cultured meat”, you are probably aware that the idea doesn’t exactly revolve around getting it from animals, but rather growing it in a laboratory. There are also some similar terms that are being tossed around on the internet such as “plant-based meat”, which relates to meat that is grown artificially, but it is ultimately derived from a different source. Undoubtedly, avoiding the current necessity to slaughter animals and livestock in order to meet the food needs of a growing population seems like the right thing to do. It will allow us to minimize food waste, make the need for killing livestock redundant and give us better circumstances to avoid a global food crisis. However, how will this impact the US farmers or other professional growers all around the world?
Currently, people who are working in the agriculture sector or who run small local farms, are the main meat and food suppliers. Their income depends on people consuming natural food that was grown on farm fields. However, everything might come to an end since farmers might be facing the potential future drastic shift on how their consumers interact with them if cultured meat will become popular. Even worse, the need to have farms might become irrelevant in the future due to this innovation. Let’s dive deep into how farmers will be affected by this trend.
Increased Prices on Natural Meat Might Be a Positive
If the trend of lab meat continues to be developed and if it reaches the point of mass adoption, the value of naturally grown meat will rise astronomically. Meaning, that meat that’s directly derived from animals will become a luxury that will only be affordable to a small percentage of the population. If this will be the reality the future holds, farmers will have mixed feelings about the whole situation. Why is that? Well, first of all, they will lose a large share of their market that consists of average middle-class consumers as they will be forced to consume cultured meat due to the price rise of natural animal meat. On the other hand, as in any industry that is high-end, they might develop a small but solid pool of clientele that will become consistent buyers of natural foods simply because they prefer “old school” meat and they can afford it.
Fewer Expenses on Livestock Maintenance
Due to the fact that animals will no longer need to be slaughtered due to the unique approach of growing lab meat, farmers will have the luxury to reduce the overall management costs of their farms. This is because, in order to begin the process of growing cultured meat, only a small portion of cells need to be extracted from an animal which is a painless process for the livestock. Since farmers will be able to avoid the slaughter of animals, they will be able to reduce their livestock sizes and double down on maintaining their select few herds.
Adopting a Different Approach To Farming and Agriculture
The processes that are currently used in the agriculture sector are bound to drastically change if the idea of cultured meat becomes a reality. Instead of raising cattle the normal ways or using non-sustainable synthetic processes of raising livestock, farmers will be able to focus more on naturality and quality, rather than compartmentalizing animals in inhumane conditions to get the most bang per buck. This trend will also impact the Big Ag farms and their unethical processes of farming that are present in some amount of commercial farms will be forced to change.