Close your eyes and think of a farm. What do you see? Do you see a red barn, with cows, pigs, horses, and sheep? Do you see an old man with overalls driving a big green tractor?
When most visualize farming, thats the stereotype that appears in their mind; however, to many this is an irrelevant picture. In many misguided views these small farmers are irrelevant because they are not big enough to be completely self sustainable; however, thats not true. The fact of the matter is that its these small farmers that are feeding the world each and everyday.
A poll taken by Michigan State University shows that over 91% of the 2.2 million farmers across the united states are family owned and operated, and have been for generations. Its these people that are working to feed not only America, but the entire world each and every day. They do all of this while only making less than $250,000 a year. Not only are they dedicated now, but they have proved to do whatever it takes to produce for this country throughout history. For instance, during the times of the Great Depression, and times of war they have persevered and kept their livelihoods in tact.
Some of the most common products grown in the United States are corn and soybeans, which feed livestock and generate biofuel. It is the family farmer that is producing products like this that can eventually be shipped all over the globe. In fact, the Union of Concerned Scientists recently released a post showing that small farms are responsible for feeding 70% of the world’s population, NOT large farms and operations. Of course, it makes sense that small farmers would be generating more product after considering the unbalanced ratio between the amount of small farms in the US compared to larger operations. Because, in most cases at least, agriculture is farmer’s only provision of survival, they tend to put more of a conscious effort into their work, inevitably generating a significantly higher yield than corporate owned land.
I’m not going to spread my opinion on corporate farming today, that is not the purpose of this post. My point is to try and prove to the general public that small farmers DO make a difference, and small farmers DO matter. Throughout the midwest, corn, wheat and soybeans dominate the industry; employing thousands of people. Whereas places like California are known for their production of dairy cattle and citrus. The point of this post is to show that no matter what– big things are coming from these men and women in jeans and boots. It is put on each and every one of you’s table every day. Their great-great-grandfather made a promise to feed your great-great-grandfather one hundred years ago, just the same as generations later, they are making a promise everyday to feed you. Remember that next time you sit down to eat.