A fascinating perspective on a recent study done by Harpindu Sandhu, an agro-ecologist at Flinders University in Australia, which analyzed the "externalized costs and invisible benefits" of three farms & their farming methods.
Salatin, of Polyface Farm, agrees that there are social costs to farming—even his kind of sustainable farming—but he’s deeply skeptical of government regulators determining who should and should not pay the those costs. He’s not at all opposed to true cost accounting, as long as it’s based on hard, reliable numbers and takes into account all the social costs and benefits yielded by a given farm. Once that accounting is done, it would provide “a way to rate farms and for the market to recognize value.” That is, leave the lawmakers and bureaucrats out of it, and let consumers vote with their dollars.
Source: Calculating the Hidden Cost of Industrial Farming by Dan Mitchell, Civil Eats