Farming Problems

.. d Brands employ hundreds of wage laborers. It is bad news for family farms because family farm members are attracted to the wage pay from the agribusiness firms; thus they leave their farms to go to these firms, leaving no one to work on the family farm. As a result the family farm starts to see declined in productivity, and not too far away, the selling of the farm to some big firm, who can meet the monthly expenses. This is another implication affecting the decline of family farms. When family farms realize that they are getting into trouble with their farm, their immediate reaction is to sell off some of their assets.

The following table shows some examples of immediate reactions to trouble. Actions of farmers in financial trouble, 1983-1987 % # Attended crisis meetings 60 32 Became an activist 22 13 Cooperated with lender 48 27 Counseled other farmers 52 30 Sold or gave back land 55 32 Eliminated enterprise 50 29 Sold machinery 35 20 Took off farm job 36 21 Source: Sample data (N=58) (Friedberger 1989, pp.75) However, whenever there is trouble, there is almost always some kind of relief. In 1985, an Act called “Save the Family Farms”, was passed by the government. It imposed mandatory controls on production and the amount of land that could be farmed. Its basic objective was to raise farm prices through a modest increase to the consumer in price of food.

The “Save the Family Farm” aimed to provide an alternative. Its corner stone, the minimum price provision. Was offered as the equivalent of the minimum wage in urban occupation. It also had other important aspects, notably a concern for the future of land tenure and the initiation of refinancing provisions for farmers (Friedberger 1989, pp. 147). Basically the aim of this act was to help save the last few family farm.

A problem facing family farms today is that it is hard for the young farmers to get ahead. Sometimes the farm is not passed down from generation to generation, so it is hard for the young farmers to start up their operations. Not only are young people more receptive to new ideas in general, but beginning farmers are at a stage in their lives when their making decisions about the kind of machinery they will but and the methods they will use. Younger farmers also need to maximize their income from sales and maybe more inclined to bypass the tradition marketing and processing system. Younger farmers also have less land (depending on how much help they got from their parents) so the ones with smaller operations may have more time to use sustainable methods.

If there is a single message here, its that getting stated in farming today is still possible but that it’s not easy. For most young people farming means having less leisure time, less security, fewer benefits and often less income than their city friends with a job do. This is what scares many young farmers, thus adding to the decrease of family farms. An additional problem facing young family farms is the constant struggle to keep up with larger farms, for the larger ones possess something that the family ones don’t; that is high tech machinery and the latest technology. A forecast for the 21st century farm suggests a unit of 5000 to 10,000 acres ( 2,025 to 4, 050 hectares), with the farmer, or farm manager, sitting in an air conditioned pod, or central office, scanning computer print out or screen.

The computer will receive weather and soil data, analyze past records of planting, consider market reports and then recommend what crops to grow, when to sow, what kind and how much fertilizer to apply, and when to harvest. The physical labor will be entrusted to robots with tape controlled programs and it will be supervise by television scanners on gigantic towers. Robot harvesters will carry out high-speed picking, grading, packaging and preparation of crops for market. The beginnings of such system are already in existence (AOL 1997). This may all sound a bit absurd, but this id the way thing are looking right now.

Technology has taken over many of the operations of the daily farm routines, and it will continue to do so in the future. Despite technology playing an important part in farming, so does family farms becoming a capitalist unit of agricultural production. The development of U.S. agriculture is generating the transformation of agricultural working class in three day. First, as the growing size and industrialization of successful farms makes family labor insufficient, more farms are becoming capitalist, hiring permanent employees. Second, mechanization of harvesting and other labor-intensive tasks is lessening the demand foe seasonal labor (Burbach 1980, pp.37).

This shows, how family farms, since they cannot meet the labor input needed, have to become capitalist, joining other farms in an agribusiness firm. Overall, the U.S. family farm cannot survive as the dominant form of agricultural production. They are constantly struggling against the encroaching power of the banks, the corporations, and the large-scale agribusiness firms. Ultimately the remaining family farmers, the farm workers and the other sectors of the U.S.

working class have to assume control of both agriculture and industry and forge a new agriculture system that takes into consideration the needs of the vast majority of the American people (Burbach 1980, pp.12). In conclusion, as farming in the U.S. continues to evolve, it bring with it obstacles that would deter all but the most devoted young people. America’s family farms are flirting with extinction as the young people priced out by huge startup costs and scared off by backbreaking responsibility- increasingly find other ways to make a living. On sum, despite setbacks, the intergenerational family farm remained an important institution in the open country corn belt. However, over a period of decades, farm families experienced what amounted to a shake out in land tenure, the reorganization of farm finance, and in some cases a search for alternative sources of income.

Despite being on the decline, there are still some family farms hanging in there. From the words of a Willow Springs, Mo. Hog raiser, “this is a great way of life if you don’t have to depend on it totally for a living”. Bibliography A.V Krebs. Budget bill perils farm families.

Philadephia Tribune, The. 12-12-95. Burbach, Roger, and Flynn, Patricia. Agribusiness in the Americas. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1980. Freidberger, Mark. Shake-Out. Kentucky, Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1989.

K.V. Johnson. Family Farms Rapidly Slipping into history. USA Today, 02-07-1995. Looker, Dan. Farmers for the Future.

United States of Ameriace: Iowa State University press, 1996. Williams, Simon. Agribusiness and the small scale farmer. Boulder: West View press, 1985. Farming: Future. America Online, 1995.

Bibliography A.V Krebs. Budget bill perils farm families. Philadephia Tribune, The. 12-12-95. Burbach, Roger, and Flynn, Patricia. Agribusiness in the Americas.

New York: Monthly Review Press, 1980. Freidberger, Mark. Shake-Out. Kentucky, Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1989. K.V. Johnson. Family Farms Rapidly Slipping into history.

USA Today, 02-07-1995. Looker, Dan. Farmers for the Future. United States of Ameriace: Iowa State University press, 1996. Williams, Simon. Agribusiness and the small scale farmer. Boulder: West View press, 1985.

Farming: Future. America Online, 1995.