The Concept of Big Ag and The Biggest Hoaxes About It

By Carlos Miskinis

When it comes to the concept of “Big Agriculture”, there is a lot of vagueness attached to it. Most of the answers you are likely to get if you asked someone about Big Ag, is that it encompasses big commercial farms that are owned by corporations or the government. Others individuals who are active professional growers or full-time farm owners will say that Big Ag defines huge commercial farming companies that are able to afford agriculture technology. They hold a huge share of the market and most small local farmers are forced to purchase resources they need to continue their agricultural business such as seeds, equipment, and manure. Big Ag is often seen as the villain that is poisoning our waters, is responsible for animal cruelty and is also guilty for using its power to profit from local farms by forcefully imposing their product use by law –  but is that really true? The team here at Challenge Advisory has worked (and is currently working) with hundreds of AgTech equipment providers that have strong relationships with small and big farm owners all across the US. Because of this, we have decided to leverage our relationships and provide our readers with information that will (hopefully) clarify what exactly does Big Ag mean and what are the most common false ideas that are surrounding this concept.



What Exactly Is Big Ag?

Before we can go into some of the most popular myths about this concept, we must first establish a “foothold” for determining what the idea means. At the core of this concept, Big Ag defines larger than average farms (average acreage of a normal farm is 1100 acres) that usually ranges from 2000 acres. However, before you start making sense of the people that own lands of this size, realize that it takes about an average of 1900 acres of farmland to generate enough income and support an average-sized family, whilst still needing to rely on an alternative source of income to cover household expenses.


Big Ag Belongs To Huge “Faceless” Corporations

This is by far the biggest misconception of them all. According to the latest statistics, over 97% of Big Ag farms belong to families – not organizations. On the other hand, they do use modern farming techniques simply because embracing modern AgTech proves itself to be more cost-effective and sustainable. Despite all of this, even though our farming methods have changed, the structure of “Big Agriculture” farms and their values haven’t.



Huge Farms Are Responsible For Causing Damage To The Environment

Although big farming comes with increased costs for the environment, the statement that “Big Ag causes huge damage to the soil and the environment” is inaccurate. Every single farmer is legally required to develop clear plans on how they will supplement the soil with nutrients using manure. Moreover, besides being legally bound to take care of the soil, professional farmers understand that the health of their soil will determine the quality and quantity of next year’s produce – no smart farmer wants to jeopardize that.


They Are Not Interested In Reducing Pollution and Animal Harm

As stated in the previous paragraph, big farm owners are doing everything they can to reduce/minimize the overall negative impact on the environment. In fact, according to a long-term study from MPCA, the overall toxic substance levels that are present in our water sources have experienced a 56% reduction. This study only reassures the fact that professional growers are taking their impact on the environment seriously and are doing everything they can to retain its wellbeing.

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Carlos Miskinis

Blog Writter

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