The recent plan to end hunger in the U.S. by 2030 laid out by the Biden Administration has at its core a commitment to increasing healthy eating so that fewer people are afflicted with diabetes, obesity, hypertension and other diet-related diseases. A staggering 2 in 5 adults suffer from some kind of obesity. So an answer on the federal level to this crisis is long overdue.
Somewhat lost in the initial discussions that followed President Biden’s announcement of the program is how we can entice Americans dairy, beef, and poultry farmers to switch from high fat, animal-based meats to healthy plant products that are, or at least should be, at the core of the President’s plan.
The question asked by most farmers who might be interesting in making the switch is, how? Even before President Biden’s announcement, farmers had become increasingly more worried about the skyrocketing cost of feeding their animals, wildly fluctuating prices for their farmed products, and the ever-increasing effects of global warming pushed from the back page of farm journals to the front. They worried that they wanted to do the right thing for their families, the animals and the environment but didn’t want to be making the charge up the hill all by themselves.
Thankfully that has changed as of late as several organizations, including Animal Outlook and Mercy for Animals, have launched initiatives to help farmers with all facets of the switch from animal-based farming to one that is focused on plant-based. Some of these innovative farmers have made this change immediate, going cold turkey (pardon the pun) from animals to plants. Others are shifting the way they farm their land in a more gradual manner. But what both of these groups are finding is the availability of guidance to successfully make this transition has never been stronger.
Programs such as Animal Outlook’s Farm Transitions program and Mercy for Animals’ Transfarmation program help farmers with expert advice on everything on:
- Business planning, scaling, process development
- Technical support
- Information regarding law and policy
- Transactional, finance and debt relief options
- Architectural consulting
- Marketing, PR consulting
- Legal assistance
Many farmers have simply had enough of the challenges of 21st century livestock farming and working for multinational conglomerates in the beef, poultry and dairy industries. They feel these are no longer their father’s and grandfather’s farms they grew up on and dreamed of one day owning.
Instead, as they continue to battle the devastating effects of the climate crisis and watching their livestock succumb to outbreaks of diseases such as bird flu, they are treated as mere supply outlets for Big Ag whose interests lie firmly in providing cheap products to consumers to drive their stock prices higher rather than in helping a fifth generation farmer from Iowa make ends meet.
They have had enough. And for the first time ever they have another viable option.