What is the difference between corporate and integrated farming?
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Corporate farming is a term that is used to describe an agricultural operation that involves the production of food and food-related products on an exceptionally large scale. This approach is different from the operation of family farm as a business, in that the corporate approach calls for not only the growing of food products but also the wide range of additional services that are important to the marketing of the foods produced. From this perspective, corporate marketing is not just about agriculture itself, but also all the other components that are found under the broad umbrella of agricultural production, marketing, and distribution.
At the core of corporate farming is the actual production of food and food products. Here, considerations for the equipment used in the cultivation, nurture, and harvest of the foods is considered part of the farming effort. Factors such as seed supply, fertilizers and chemicals used to manage the growth of the plants to maturity, and the machinery used as part of the harvest process are all included. In addition, factors such a storage facilities, transport of the finished products to their destinations, and even the marketing and advertising tools used to sell the products are part of the broader scope of corporate farming.
It is important to note that corporate farming is the large scale production of food and its subsequent sale and marketing, often to businesses that refine the foods into product lines of their own. This is in contract to a family farm which grows crops that are not only sold directly to consumers or a specific customer who in turn manufacturers and sells foods products to consumers, but that also makes use of a portion of the foods produced for the family’s consumption. Corporate farming may be international in scope, whereas family farming may be somewhat limited in the geographic area it serves.
One of the benefits to consumers is that corporate farming often makes it possible to have access to a wider range of food products than would be possible otherwise. In addition, some of the by-products of the growing process may be made into other types of goods that consumers may purchase. The large scale operations make it possible to create a wider range of products, reach more consumers, and in general realize larger profits than would be possible otherwise.
At the same time, critics of corporate farming state that the advent of this approach to farming has seriously impeded the ability of the family farm to survive. With a smaller potential consumer base and a limited delivery area, farms of this type cannot often compete with the prices offered by corporate farms. The end result is that over time a number of family farms have failed, or had to find ways to augment income in order to survive.
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