Farm consolidation has been having a moment in national conversation, and it casts small family farms as the victims of industrial behemoths. But the real conflict isn't between farms big and small — it's between large farmers and very large agricultural processors, like Cargill and Tyson.
The long history of agricultural consolidation (which dates back more than a century), in fact, has corresponded with increasing farm productivity and environmental efficiency. Thanks to big yield growth, the amount of agricultural land each person uses is down by half since 1960, which has massively reduced emissions and habitat loss. Furthermore, while poor labor conditions are unfortunately ubiquitous across the board (large or not, organic or not), they may be marginally easier to improve on large farms.