Cows, chickens and corn, a big red barn, green or red tractors – these are just a few of the images that come to mind when people hear the word “farming.” But for today’s farmers, there is much more to agriculture than meets the eye.
- Most farms are owned and operated by families.
The USDA shows that 96 percent of the 2.1 million farms in the United States are family-owned operations. Most farmers would tell you that working with their family is key to why they are so passionate about what they do.
As farms have gotten bigger, they have been labeled as factory farms. But in all reality, these farms are still considered family farms because they are run by families – perhaps several families and generations of families.
- Farming is efficient because it is high-tech.
Farmers use technology to make advances in producing more food that is more safe, affordable, and produced more efficiently than ever before. Farmers spend time in their offices making GPS maps for fields and they have tractors that drive themselves. They are very technology-based, and technology creates efficiency.
Farmers will tell you everything they do in farming has to be efficient and sustainable. And at the same time farmers are improving resources on their farms.
- Farmers are passionate about producing food.
One of the things that farmers love most about farming is working hard and seeing the results of that hard work. Farming is a passionate job and requires patience to weather through the ups and downs. Farmers love caring for the soil and land to set the stage for the next generation.
Farming is a lifestyle, not just a job. It is 24 hours a day, seven days a week and every day of the year.
- Farmers use a variety of production methods.
There’s no reason to debate conventional vs. organic crops because there are many ways to farm. An important question to think about is, “What is the best way to feed a growing population, while reducing the amount of resources required?” To address this, farming will need multiple approaches, not just one or two. There are trade-offs with all production methods and each provide different benefits.
- There are many ways to become involved in agriculture.
Farm families make up under two percent of the U.S. population. Most people are at least three generations removed from the farm. However, getting involved in agriculture is for everyone. There are many ways to connect to farmers through farm tours, farm stands, agritourism, community-supported agriculture, farmers markets, etc. Talk with farmers – they are happy to chat with you about what they do.
Want to learn more about how food is grown? Reach out to a local farmer.
Source: Best Food Facts, modified