Social Issue: Decline of Farming

Blaine Johnson

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Andrea Emmons, Blaine Johnson, and Brooke Welch

 

Where would we be without farmers today? Throughout history, our nation has relied on farmers for many sources of nourishment. Although the United States’ economy still depends on farmers for the production of sustainable goods, technological advances have changed the demographics of the farming industry. New advances in technology and loss of income and land have altered the industry of farming for future years.

Due to price drops in produce, farmers are losing their main source of income. Since 2013, there has been a fifty percent drop in farmers’ income. Over the last three years, the net farm income has dropped forty-five percent, the largest drop in farming since the Great Depression (Focus on the Farm Economy). The prices of everyday goods like beef, corn, and wheat have dropped, which has been sending farmers into debt (Harvey). Farmers are losing thousands of dollars each year due to the decrease in goods’ prices. Also, they are losing money by relying on credit. Farmers rely on credit for their livestock, machinery and their seeds. Owing to lack of income, bankruptcy is the only option left for some farmers.

Farming land is being lost to the construction of big cities. People find more interest in shopping centers, movie theaters, bowling alleys, amusement parks, and other sources of entertainment rather than farming. Due to these occurrences, people are attempting alternative ways of farming. People are trying to start farms on rooftops, otherwise known as a type of urban farming. Urban farming is growing food in a heavily populated metropolis. Urban farming is used in many ways such as in education, for-profit concerns, and traditional culinary cultures. Nonetheless, urban agriculture helps people who live in cities to access locally grown food and become more aware of the aspects of food that have been culturally lost throughout the years (Greensgrow). Urban farming could possibly become the new wave of the future.

Current technology is another main factor contributing to the evolution of farming. Technological improvements have made farming easier and reduced the amount of work farmers have to accomplish in a day.  In Kyle Wiens article, “New High Tech Equipment is a Nightmare for Farmers”, Wiens talks about the struggles he has in fixing his friend’s tractor. He states, “Regulations are stricter, agribusiness is more consolidated, resources are more scarce, and equipment is infinitely more complicated and proprietary” (Wiens). Advances in technology are creating problems for small farms, which is causing them to go out of business. On the contrary, these advancements are making it easier for bigger industrial farms to produce crops. Technology is improving; therefore, farming is too.

As technological advancements are made, productivity in farming will increase and the manpower needed will decrease. One of the main jobs our country’s economy was built upon is slowly dying out. So put down the cellphone, stop shopping for new shoes at the stripmall, stop being stingy with the corn money, and help out our farmers (like Blaine)!

 

Works Cited

“Focus on the Farm Economy.” House Committee on Agriculture, Established 1820, agriculture.house.gov/issues/issue/?IssueID=14903.

Harvey, Alicia. “A Looming Crisis on American Farms – Farm Aid.” Farm Aid, 20 Feb. 2018, www.farmaid.org/issues/farm-economy-in-crisis/looming-crisis-american-farms/.

“What Is Urban Farming?” Greensgrow, J2 Design Partnership, www.greensgrow.org/urban-farm/what-is-urban-farming/.

Wiens, Kyle. “New High-Tech Farm Equipment Is a Nightmare for Farmers.” Wired, Conde Nast, 3 June 2017, www.wired.com/2015/02/new-high-tech-farm-equipment-nightmare-farmers/.

 

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