Family Farms: Where are they going from here?
October 18, 1999
By Sarah Brombaugh firstname.lastname@example.org
Did You Know: The number of farmers under the age of 25 has decreased 50% in the last 10 years!
20% of American jobs have ties to Agriculture!
This is an editorial by me, Sarah Brombaugh, of Same Dog Productions, part owner of a Family Farm Corporation, and wife of an American Farmer. I did not grow up on a farm. I was raised in a big city, where I thought farmers had it made. All the food they could eat for free! Throw some seed in the ground and make money! Wow, what an easy life. I have now lived on a Family Farm for 27 years and I know differently....
....Many remember the years when farming was a way of life. When you grew all your own food...eggs, pork, beef, poultry, gardens full of bountiful vegetables.
Tractors didn't cost as much or more as a new home. You didn't have to plant thousands of acres to make a living.
Those days are gone. Gone forever we're afraid. Along with those days, the Family Farm is disappearing.
What once was an occupation thought to be unskilled by many, (even though it wasn't), has become a very technical job.
Today's American Farmer must know marketing strategies, environmental laws, be a mechanic, electrician, accountant, among many other things.
Why is the Family Farm disappearing? Many farmers feel this is in the plans either by the government or by big corporations. If they run most of the farmers off of the farms, big corporations can take control of agriculture completely, thereby eventually being able to set their own price for agriculture products.
Some feel oil companies want control of grain farms, so they can control the price for ethanol and soy diesel fuels, which can be replenished and are more environmentally safe. Today, while Family Farms still exist, these fuels are not being mass produced in our country. This would greatly aid the farmer if this could happen, as it would increase the price of our products and enable us to continue our heritage. It would also decrease our dependency on other countries for fossil fuels.
Today's prices are driving farmers out of business. A bushel of soybeans on today's market (10/18/99), will reap $4.56 per bushel and a bushel of corn will bring in $1.73. These prices are well below the cost of production. In 1972, when we first started farming, prices were only a little below these. What occupation do you know of that still receives the same wages received in 1972?
Combines, (for those of you that don't know what this is...is the equipment used to harvest crops), cost over $120,000.00. New tractors can cost as much and sometimes even more than a combine.
How many products sold in the world today has someone else setting the price the producer receives for it? A farmer can not say I want $2.50 per bushel for corn, as that is what it cost me to raise it. Someone else sets a price, and there's nothing a farmer can do about it. Someone else controls their destiny. No matter how hard they work, someone else controls the life of a farmer.
Farming is not an easy job. Fighting the weather is a constant situation. Either it's too dry, too wet, too cold, too hot, too windy, not windy enough. Every aspect of the weather affects farming. Fields can be destroyed by grasshoppers or red spider mites. Weeds can become out of control and drastically reduce yields.
Farming is a HUGE gamble and even if farmers work as hard as they can, are as honest as they can be, their lives are controlled by others. Their livelihood is in jeopardy constantly.
Farming is a 'labor of love' for most farmers. Why else would they be doing this for the prices they are getting in today's market?
Some day soon, it will be too late to save the Family Farm.
Wake up, America! The Family Farm is about to go. When this does happen, big corporations will ask whatever price they need for crops to make a profit. This, in turn, will increase your cost at the grocery store tremendously. By then it will be too late. The Family Farm will have disappeared forever.
With the leadership in our country today like this, no wonder American farmers are being driven from their land more and more every year.
Some day food may be the most expensive item you can buy ... then people will yell, scream and holler, big time, but it will be too late. Until then, things will just continue to progress as they are doing currently. Farmers are being run off of their farms by the dozens, due to the leadership of this country, or should I say 'lack of leadership'. In Japan, farmers are practically revered, because they feed the multitudes. Where are our priorities anymore? It seems it's more important to have a new Ford Explorer in our driveway than have food on our table at night.