250749 Out to Pasture: The Future of Farming?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 4:51 PM

Leo Horrigan, MHS , Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Almost all of the animals we eat in this country are raised in so-called “confinement” operations – indoor facilities that house thousands of chickens, cows or hogs. Unlike the diversified farms that once were the norm, confinement operations tend to be highly specialized. Considering that humans have raised domesticated animals for thousands of years, this industrial style of production is a new experiment. There are rising concerns about the impact of industrial farming on our health, the environment, local communities, and the welfare of the animals. However, there are still farmers who raise animals outdoors, in diversified operations. Some would call them backward, but these farmers believe they are on the cutting edge of animal agriculture. This film tells their story. While the film discusses problems in industrial food animal operations, its main focus is on farmers who have either transitioned out of the industrial model or never entered into it. The 35-minute film profiles two chicken farms on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; dairy farms in Maryland and Pennsylvania; and three pastured hog farms in eastern North Carolina's Duplin County – also home to more than two million industrially-raised hogs each year. Community activists in the film highlight problems in industrial farming, but the farmers show the power of following a different path. It was produced between May and October of 2010. It was selected for a screening at the 19th annual D.C. Environmental Film Festival on March 17, 2011.er of 2010. It was selected for a screening at the 19th annual D.C. Environmental Film Festival on March 17, 2011.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
* Compare different systems used for raising animals for food -- meat, milk and eggs. * Explain the environmental and public health impacts of food animal production systems. * Discuss economic realities and trends in food animal production, and how they affect both industrial and non-industrial systems of production.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Animal Waste

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a program officer in the Farming for the Future program of the Center for a Livable Future for three years, and am now a food system correspondent for that organization.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.