In Honor Of The Farm
Farming is a way of life that you either love or leave. I grew up on a farm. To me, there’s nothing quite like the turning of the land in the spring, the smell of fresh dirt, full of the promise of new life coming.
Less than 2% of the population of America lives on a farm. It’s no wonder that most people don’t understand the farm or what it takes to produce a bushel of grain, a peck of vegetables, or a bale of cotton.
The millennial generation (people aged 34 and under) includes 257,454 farmers. More than 20 percent of all farmers are beginning farmers (in business less than 10 years). But that’s no wonder, many of our baby boomers were farmers, and have retired. At one point in the not too distant past, the average age of a farmer was 59.
We owe farmers a huge debt. They have kept us fed, clothed, and given our country a leading place in the world markets. Yes, farmers did that all those years ago. At one time, a family farm fed a family. Then, with better tools, better seeds, and better practices, those farmers fed their neighbors, and then the neighboring towns, as well. Now, our American farms feed on average of 165 people per farm, according to the American Farm Bureau.
Another note, when you are thanking farmers, the slice of the pie that goes to a farmers pocket out of $1 in food cost is about 16 cents. Not much to raise a crop, a family, pay for equipment, seed, fertilizer, transportation costs, and still pay for land, is it?
In 2016, $135.5 billion worth of American agricultural products were exported around the world. The United States sells more food and fiber to world markets than we import, creating a positive agricultural trade balance.
Our farmers have become the most productive farmers in the world. They’ve had to. They are the ones who have been ingenious with ever shrinking prices, they’ve done the remarkable task of making more with less for many years. When you sell a product, and can’t set your own price, have the hand of nature that can raise against you without any warning with storms, droughts, and floods, you have to be able to trust not only your own acumen and farming knowledge, but the Man upstairs as well.
Yes, farming is a good life. When you are close to the land, close to nature in all its rages and glory, and can enjoy the utter peace and beauty that a field of open dirt , or a velvety spring wheat crop can bring, that is a good life.
Thank a farmer this month. I’m thanking my three - Thank you, Daddy [Arthur Lee Goodin],, and my brothers, John, and Artie, for letting me hold your hand, walk through the mud, sand, water, and dirt in your shadow, and learn what a good man truly is.