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Exactly what is a “family farm?”

March 20th, 2010

From my limited perspective, it appears that farming is going through a perception crisis.  What I mean when I say “perception crisis” is that the perception others have of farming, agriculture, and family farming is misunderstood and oftentimes inaccurate.  The urbanization brought on by  the Industrial Revolution resulted in a growing number of people moving away from the farm into cities.  Consequently, mankind created a divide in the connection between the population and the source of its food.  This divide has continued to grow exponentially. 

Recently there has been an increased desire among people to close this gap and understand where food comes from.  

Having grown up on a family farm, I always assumed that everyone knew.  For as long as I can remember, I have walked through fields of wheat and barley.  I have watched the predominant crops in our area shift from flax, sunflowers, wheat and barley to a greater number of corn and soybean acres.

Farming at it’s core is a simple process – put a seed in the ground, let it grow and harvest.  The complexities that surround these steps – crop marketing, global fertilizer supply, soil formulation…the list goes on.  On top of that, everything can be planned perfectly but one bad day (or hour) of weather can ruin an entire season.  I remember watching a hail storm destroy nearly our entire crop in one hour of “weather”.

This blog is my attempt to put a face to family farming.  I’m hoping to draw as many people to the conversation via articles and comments.  Let’s have a meaningful discussion on agriculture, and educate others on what farming is really about.

Please feel free to post a comment sharing your thoughts on the question: What is a family farm?


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