Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Shrinking Occupation: Farming

I was reading something today that I'd like to share with you, these points were written by Peter Holter, and in my opinion, more people need to see this.

"The average American farmer is 58 years old. The average cattleman is 61 years old.
According to Beef USA, 90% of all U.S. cow herds have less than 100 cows. So there is a declining population of people, with small herds, with growing challenges – and despite the current bubble — a disincentive to carry the ranch forward another generation, in the face of hunger and a growing demand for food.

The good news is there is a new generation coming on that wants to farm and ranch and they are exploring new paradigms – problem is they often can’t afford the land, and there are programs with land trusts, USDA and others to assist — and they desperately want training — not only in production but management to run a smaller, efficient, profitable healthy enterprise. And interestingly many are doing it. Many of them are women – 30% of the 3 million farms are operated by women – today, women are twice as likely to take over an existing enterprise or starting a new one than men."

“The Women and Food Agriculture Network has information indicating that – since 2002 – the agriculture industry has seen a 30 percent increase nationally in the number of women running farms and ranches.  If you look at demographic, social, and economic factors, they indicate that the number will continue to rise in the coming years.”

I have a banner on my Facebook page that says "No farms=no food".
It is true now more than ever with shrinking availability of land, fewer and fewer programs to help new farmers and a retiring group of farmers. The U.S is ahead of Canada in their efforts to try and help the next generation of farmers, and this needs to be rectified. Every country needs to help their farmers, and in the end, help stem the food crisis we all experience.


LindaM said...

I haven't read a Nation of Farmers by Sharon Astyk yet but I understand it's premise. Enough small farms will prevent a food crisis.
The large scale models of food production are not a healthy thing to invest time, research, public funding, education or hopes on.

Jacquelineand.... said...

I'm going to have to find this and read it, thanks for sharing!

Does it surprise me that more women are moving into farming? Not a whit......I remember being the only girl taking Agriculture in secondary school and what a fight it was to get them to allow it. The year after I started? There were a dozen and it just kept expanding.

Anonymous said...

While it's not the same thing, I think pretty regularly on what women managed to accomplish during the war, especially in terms of things like victory gardens and the land girls taking over a lot of the work. The issue right now, though, seems to be land. We can do a lot in yards and empty lots, but I still think we need bigger small-scale agriculture, which is increasingly hard to come by, especially in terms of access to land.