Although the idea and study of agriculture is often an afterthought in some areas of the United States, the agricultural system is an important part of our food production and the U.S. economy. It touches almost every part of the American experience from agrarian societies in this country throughout history to how technology has affected food production. Hot agricultural topics abound and are ready to be debated in your persuasive speech.
You've heard of outsourcing jobs, but should companies be outsourcing the food you eat? Some big companies have been using outside suppliers to produce food sold under their name brands, and this has created a great debate among consumers, grocers, farmers and the companies themselves. For companies, outsourcing food production allows them to sell more product at a lower price. For consumers, outsourcing food becomes a problem when it takes weeks to track down the original source of tainted peanut butter, meat or spinach, leading to continued recalls.
Genetically Modified Food
The debate over genetically modified foods, or GMOs as they're sometimes called, has been raging for years. Genetically modified foods are food products, such as meat, corn, tomatoes or soybeans, that have been genetically modified or engineered to produce a better crop or animal. Many crops and animals are modified to become more disease-resistant or to grow bigger or more productive. This allows big companies who create genetically modified animals or crops, such as Monsanto, to produce more product to sell to consumers. However, questions have been raised all over the world about the short- and long-term safety of using GMO-based products. Some European nations have even gone so far as to ban certain genetically modified foods, according to Treehugger.com.
Big Business vs. the Small Farmer
When you think of the farms that grow your food, you probably think of the small mom-and-pop type family farm operations you see on television. However, a lot of the food in the United States is produced on large "factory" farms by big companies such as Tyson. Smaller farms just can't compete with the larger conglomerates and, according to the National Family Farm Coalition, more than half the dairy farmers in the United States have got out of business in the last 16 years because of large agribusiness.