Posted in Life

The Rural Community Demise

Rural Population

  • 1900 – 60.4%
  • 1950 – 36%
  • 2000 – 21%
  • 2010 – 19.3%

Equals less individuals to operate farms of any size.

2017 USDA Ag Census:

  • 2.04 Million Farms (all sizes)
  • 273,000 smallest (1-9 acres) farms make up 0.1% of all farmland
  • 85,127 largest (2,000 or more acres) farms make up 58% of farmland
  • 76,865 making $1 million or more represent just over 66% of $389 billion
  • 1.56 million Operation’s making under $50,000 represent just 2.9%
  • 43.6% of farms had positive net cash farm income
  • 130,056 farms sold directly to consumers, with sales of $2.8 billion
  • 34 states had less farm land making up 15.7 million acres                                              (a)  7 make up 11.2 million acres in year round growing climates
  • 36% of producers are female & 56% & at least one female decision maker

How can the rural communities be benefiting from the above?  They do not.

We need more of Vegetable & Pulse Growth

Vegetables and pulses (rich in protein and essential amino acid), including potatoes averaged $17.4 billion—14% of U.S. crop cash receipts, generated on less than 2% of all U.S. harvested acreage.

How does the below support the small rural communities?

1)    Up to 40% or more is wasted due to transportation to grocers

2)    $20 billion a year on subsidies for farm businesses from the Federal government

3)    39% of the nation’s 2.1 million farms receive subsidies

4)    Most going to the largest producers of corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and rice

5)    80% for more than 100 crops are Subsidized insurance is available for Revenue or Yield deficiencies (most are corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat) – USDA pays 62% of their premiums, on average

It does not.

I have said this before, but I will say it again.  The Loss of community begins with the moving away from the family farms, whether for their own intake and sustenance, or for an additional support of income for the household.  The children will lose the basic health related to their physical health, in addition to, the responsibility and work ethic in doing chores and understanding what it takes or others do to support themselves or communities around them.

There is a variety of activity for children, allowing them to focus energy into animal care, egg collection, vegetable growing, and harvesting and interactions with neighbors or elderly which may have care needs. For adults, farm life provides time to think, a healthy diet, and a built-in workout routine.

Small family farms provide jobs for a community. Research has shown, when they disappear, many jobs go away with them. They have shown that family farms provide multiple economic benefits for their communities;

  1. They employ more people per acre than large, industrialized farms
  2. More likely to purchase inputs locally
  3. Keep more money in their local economies
  4. A multiplier effect: for every dollar the farm spends, a percentage remains in the local economy, contributing to the economic health of the community
  5. Lower poverty and unemployment rates
  6. Higher average household incomes
  7. Greater socioeconomic stability

I have seen this fist hand visiting my old hometown in Indiana.  When small family farms disappear;

  • Main streets become less active
  • Fewer retail businesses in business
  • Less money is spent in the community
  • While it seems counterintuitive, large agribusinesses are associated with lower incomes, more poverty and economic inequality

Family farms have fewer acres to manage, so farmers are more closely understanding of their ground, climate, and pests. The land of a small family farm allows the production and rotation of diverse crops in systems integrated with other ecosystems on the farm. As a result, these farms are often quite biodiverse. By contrast, large farms tend to restrict production to one or two crops, reducing biodiversity. The industrial methods used by large farms also adversely affect soil and water quality and negatively impact the climate. Oh, you will debate this, I am sure.

Author:

Raised on a 20 acre farm with all the animals in rural Indiana. I picked up rocks out of farm field before planting season, cooked in a pancake house for a couple years, worked in a factory, joined the Navy, back to the factory then College. I took for granted the simple natural (and unnatural) foods we grew that we raised, and the snacks and cereals we bought. I had a hard working mother I love, even now that she is gone, and a there but not there father. It went by so fast. I sincerely believe we can reintroduce the local farms that sustain and bring together communities. I am looking for sincere individuals to assist me with pursuing my passion to bring a business model to community, prove concept and make it work. Then reeducate the generations.

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