Factory farming is NOT necessary. This is a fraud invented by Monsanto and their friends to justify selling their crap,and forcing people who don't want any of it to buy it anyways ! And then they can use all the money that they have to bribe lawmakers into passing laws that suit them.
fyi : http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary ... D000000055
beginning of rant :
There are people who farm in a very sustainable way, get an output that is very close to what you're supposed to be getting from the previously mentioned corporate liars, but yes, it does require some effort, and you just can't buy a "miracle" crop that will cost you your life, your money, and will make you dependent on one company. Not to mention that it destroys your land, and then you're screwed.
Go to the countryside, visit a sustainable farm, ask how the crop is grown, how the animals are raised, how they are killed, be aware of what you are eating. Ask what the costs are, what the revenues are. You will understand why the prices need to be what they are instead of the cheaper the better...
One last thing : ever heard of e-coli ? did you know that it is barely exists in a cow that eat grass. But a cow that eat corn (WTF ? corn ? really, must be from all that corn cows eat the wild ? talk about the corn lobby...), is packed with e-coli. In other word, meat from CAFOs is shit.
source : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19351974
the summary from the article, copy pasted as-is (a government article btw... ) : "Ten years ago researchers demonstrated that populations of total E. coli were higher in grain-fed than in forage-fed cattle, and when cattle were abruptly switched from a high grain diet to an all hay diet, total E. coli populations declined 1000-fold within 5 days and reduced the ability of the surviving E. coli to survive an acid shock mimicking passage through the human gastric stomach"
A final reference : check out the polyface farm videos, websites, books... it all about sustainable agriculture, very interesting.
End of rant... sorry about that, but this is something I'm very passionate about...