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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-11 02:43 PM
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Young Farmers Find Huge Obstacles to Getting Started
In this 19-paragraph article by Isolde Raferty, only by the 13th paragraph does it dare to mention agribusiness:

Six miles outside of Knoxville, Iowa, Ethan Book, 31, chose to raise livestock, as his family did 60 years ago. A former youth pastor, Mr. Book became a farmer because he had high cholesterol and had read that pasture-raised meat was healthier to eat. In my mind, he said, our animals are doing what they were created to do, eating the way they were created to eat.

Data from the Agriculture Department support his warning only 22 percent of beginning farmers turn a profit their first year. The National Young Farmers Coalition found that 73 percent of young farmers must work away from the farm; Mr. Book, a father of four, works 40 hours a week at a farm store.

When he looks out the back window of his small farmhouse, he sees a 3,000-acre corporate farm and machinery worth four or five times as much as his operation. People are demanding cheap food, theyre demanding a lot of it corn for fuel, soy for diesel, Mr. Book said. It does have an impact on us in the sense that weve seen land prices skyrocket in Iowa. It does make it difficult for a beginner to get into the game.
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HopeHoops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-11 02:44 PM
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1. Then there are the big rocks to contend with.
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murielm99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-11 03:16 PM
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2. There is nothing new about this.
My husband started farming for his father in his thirties. He is sixty-seven now. We don't farm our land any more, we rent it out.

But it is nearly impossible for anyone to get a start unless they are wealthy to begin with. Most people farm land that is already in the family. And I believe the average age of a farmer around here is fifty.

They guy who farms the land adjacent to ours is in his thirties. But he bought the property from his father.

As far as this guy raising livestock goes, he could try another approach. We have a farmer near us who raises all organic beef. He does not even need to advertise. He has a waiting list of customers for his meat.
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-11 03:17 PM
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3. As he says, the low cost of food is the biggest challenge to small farms


In spite of perceived inflation and how hard it is to make ends meet, the cost of food as a percentage of income is still at historic lows - and those are historic lows anywhere in human history you want to look, thanks to modern industrial agriculture. Not that I'm a fan of Monsanto or mechanization, but its a good overall policy to acknowledge reality.
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