My brother John's fiancé loves animals, is studying to be come a vet tech and is a tad short on cash. So I being the generous future sister-in-law invited her down to the farm on weekends to groom cows. Not my favorite chore but it needs done and I love to have company in my misery! Lol. While we curried, we talked and laughed and talked some more. (7 months of living in semi-hermitage has caused this tongue-tied chickie to find her voice, although I'd rather you just read my thoughts through my eyes.) Kasie told me one of her assignments,(for English?), was to write an essay on the problems they see in the field they are studying. She didn't know of any major issues in the vet tech field (beyond Potomac St not having its ducks in a row) so she broadened it to include the entire field of agriculture. Still not seeing a multitude of major issues, she asked me for my opinion and advice. I bit my lip figuratively and contemplated the best answer. I didn't want to sound-off half-cocked and end up spluttering ignorantly and turn off the opportunity to inform her and her class of the needs in agriculture. I add a few more in this post and welcome everyone to comment on their point of view of ag related issues.
Issues in the field of Agriculture:
1. Around 2% of America's population is responsible for feeding our country. The majority of that 2% are middle aged people, not yet ready to hand the farm over to the next generation but lacking the vibrant energy and innovation the youngsters could add to our industry. leading us to...
2. Because the farms are supporting dad mom and often grandpa and grandma the youth seek employment elsewhere. Some go into ag related fields but the vast majority never return to the farm.
3. The number of farms is dwindling. Commercialization of the farm enterprise makes it hard on the small family based farm. They cannot keep up with rising costs and the factory farm outproduces them by far...
4. Quality is obliterated by quantity.
5. Farmers do not learn to sell themselves. People connect to your product by human relation. Farmers have come to rely on the middle man to do their marketing and fail to make that connection the keeps the consumers coming back.
6. Costs. Already briefly mentioned, cost of equipment, labor, and supplies keeps going up. Small farms are not able to increase revenue accordingly. Mass production cripples their efforts.
7. Farmers often do things habitually or by tradition. New concepts, tools and media although helpful are slow to catch on. We must educate ourselves continually.
8. In many rural areas we have a shortage of vets. Make in it difficult and expensive to find one in an emergency.
9. Like many things in life, farming is taken for granted. We fail to see all the hard work, blood, sweat, prayers and tears that made it possible for you to sit down with your family at a table of plenty. If we don't fight for it, it too will fade into oblivion like so many of our rights and privileges have already.
Now that I have stood up on my soapbox, lol and rambled through the muddy pastures, and cleaned out the barn of my mind I bid you a good night. It has been quite a long day.