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Old 02-21-2014, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Vegas
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By AP / Mary Clare Jalonick Feb. 20, 2014

What do we do when we can no longer produce our own food? It isn't hard to understand why our youth are leaving the farm – long hours and little gain. No taking vacations as livestock must be constantly tended to. Self-employed, cost of health insurance. The list goes on and on However, the article does state this:

Quote:
Vilsack says the boost in the number of younger farmers is partly due to increased interest and government support for locally grown foods and a thriving export market. Many younger farmers work at smaller operations, where the boom in the farm economy and a rising consumer interest in where food is grown have helped them.
Will that be enough?

Read more: Number of U.S. Farms Declines, Farmers Getting Older | TIME.com Number of U.S. Farms Declines, Farmers Getting Older | TIME.com
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:19 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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The aging of farmers is the same as many other industries, in my company of 2,000 the average age is 49. The problem is the lack of interest in youth doing farming. Here in WA the apple farmers have had trouble finding pickers, because they are getting too old and their children are either not interested or do far less work due to wasting time texting. It helped some to pay piecemeal rather than hourly, but then they started to have some that were under minimum wage. At one point they announced wages of $25/hour. I don't think there will be a shortage of food due to aging farmers, but there will be many fewer small family farms, and more big corporate farms, and food prices will soar as they have to pay more to attract workers.
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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I agree with Hemlock. My state is heavily agricultural but land prices and equipment prices are so prohibitive that young people wanting to start out, well it's just about impossible for a large enough place to support a family.

Most of the young folks in my state end up going somewhere else to find a high paying job instead of taking over the family ranch/farm, so the land gets sold into development and removed from production.

Ranching or Farming are hard work. Long hours, little pay, not much to intrest today's youth so the corporate farms and ranches are becoming more and more the norm instead of small family owned places.

The one bright spot is the very small holder that works another job, but grows small amounts of heritage foods that can be sold at a premium price.

They won't replace lost production, but at least they keep the tradition alive.

The corporate farms will produce enough to keep the country fed on packaged, modified, chemical enriched garbage far into the future, and the small homesteader will provide real food if you want to pay for it.

Not the best scenario, but how I see it shaping up in my area.
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:41 PM
 
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In my area, farmers are getting to be fewer and fewer, but the farms are getting bigger and bigger. When a farmer dies, there is a big line of men waiting to purchase or lease the land. It's cut-throat.

Eventually, it's going to get to the point where it's mostly just big corporations farming it, and they will hire farm-hands to do the work.
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Western Nebraskansas
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Quote:
The problem is the lack of interest in youth doing farming.
No it's not.

The problem is that it's an asset-heavy industry and most younger people don't have the assets and/or capital to be able to get into it.
I've known a LOT of younger people that would really like to be able to get into production ag. but are just completely priced out of the industry. There are a few feel-good programs out there like the Beginning Farmer loan program, but it's really just to give a little extra boost to someone who already has a LOT of backing from family. It's not really for beginners with few assets.



So we're the hired help, instead...
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:45 PM
 
Location: kcmo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sargentodiaz View Post
Number of U.S. Farms Declines, Famers Getting Older
Don't worry the government subsidies racket game will keep us in farming for a long time

http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/congress-keeps-farm-bill-subsidies-quiet-131661379713
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTSilvertip View Post
The corporate farms will produce enough to keep the country fed on packaged, modified, chemical enriched garbage far into the future, and the small homesteader will provide real food if you want to pay for it.
I agree, and think this is the way agriculture is evolving nationally.

I looked at a plat map of the county where my farm is, and almost EVERY farm is owned by a family trust instead of by individual owners. So, what does this mean?

1) The people who do the actual farming (operators) do it on a rental or share crop basis. The farmers who do this for a living usually rent multiple farms so that they can bring in enough income to support equipment and other expenses. So - young farmers have to be renters - and usually have to have enough money to PAY the rent before crops income comes in.

2) When the trusts end the whole farms are sold to large corporate farm owners because they're the only entities that can afford the multi millions it takes to buy farming acreage. As Fred said, young people who want to farm usually don't have the money it takes even to buy out family, let alone to buy a new place.

3) Or when the trusts end the farms are partitioned. These smaller acreages usually are sold for development - housing or industry. Or they become "hobby farms" for rich people (ech, p.u., that's a whole other conversation.)

But SOME of those partitions are bought by young farmers who know the only way they can make a living off a small farm acreage is to go organic and/or sell at farmers markets or directly to restaurants or health food stores.

It's this last option that gives me some hopefulness for the future of agriculture.
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Old 02-25-2014, 10:43 PM
Status: "Of course they do....." (set 18 hours ago)
 
Location: Caribou, Me.
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The farm which has been in our family has seen a very interesting 125 years. My great grandfather bought it a little while after arriving from Denmark with his wife. They then had two daughters. He expanded the farm but kept it in potatoes. His son--in-law (my grandfather) started farming with him shortly after marrying into the family. He also did well and grew the farm. Then his son (my uncle) went into the business with my grandfather, and eventually took it over. Little by little, over 30 years, he went into debt and lost parts of the farm. He eventually just leased out what was left. The big old barn had to come down. Things looked pretty bleak.
But then a few Amish moved into the area from out of state, and he sold them half of the farm. They have prospered and grown, and now have a little settlement right next door to him. So the farm is coming back.

What's interesting is that my great-grandparents and grandparents were quite conservative people. They were very down to earth and religious. They worked very, very hard and lived simple lives. My uncle, on the other hand, fell prey to alot of the "social dissolution" of the last forty years; he was divorced twice (which cost him money), and got into gambling too. He was never religious. All of these things were part of the farm's downfall, I believe. But then the Amish came along with their conservatism, religiosity, hard work and simplicity, and it seems that the farm and legacy are somehow being redeemed.....

Just my two cents.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:46 PM
 
12,683 posts, read 17,015,833 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sargentodiaz View Post
By AP / Mary Clare Jalonick Feb. 20, 2014

What do we do when we can no longer produce our own food? It isn't hard to understand why our youth are leaving the farm – long hours and little gain.
Normally, if demand is stable, prices go up as production goes down. However, when the demand and/or prices of a commodity go up, production of that commodity normally increases. Throw into that mix significant increases in current farm land prices, equipment and salaries, and it's a safe bet food prices in the future will be significantly higher than what they are now. If that does not happen, even corporate farmers may follow the farm youth to better paying jobs.

It's always my guess that, if the government were not pouring millions into farm subsidies, food prices would already be knocking our socks off. Ever increasing auto prices have worked very well to drive many Americans away from driving but your can't just quit eating. It's also no secret why most politicians refuse to fence up the Mexican border. Subsidies and a supply of low wage employees may be the only things right now standing between Americans and a $1000 to fill a grocery cart. Currently Americans seem happy that they can get much of what they need from the rest of the world. Is it all this a death spiral for a nation's economy or just adaptation to a world economy? I certainly don't know.

The cotton farmers out here all seem to want to lease to the wind turbine farms. From what I gather, the return on their farm land is better, and safer. I hardly blame them.

BTW, I am not a farmer but I played one with the USDA for a few years.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:25 AM
 
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All of the farms in my area were contacted by a wind turbine co. a few years ago, but nothing ever came of it. I think probably not enough land owners were willing to let go of even a small amount of their productive corn/soybean land for a permanent installation of equipment that might or might not have lasted or been income producing for any guaranteed amount of time.

I actually said that it was ok with me, since their proposed location was on a ditch line. But never heard back from them.
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