Decline of Family Farms

Topics: Agriculture, Industrial agriculture, Agribusiness Pages: 4 (1657 words) Published: April 30, 2013
In the 21st century, few people are able to step outside on a warm summer morning and hear hens clucking and cattle lowing in a nearby pasture. They cannot walk to the garden and pull up fresh carrots or pluck ripe tomatoes. This way of life is rapidly disappearing. Gone are the times when farmers would work together with their wives and children to feed the livestock or harvest that year’s crop. This old way is no longer because of the diminishing number of family farms. The causes of this trend range from the rising age of farmers to the rising costs of expenses. *Or from the more common use of subsidies by the government to agribusiness taking control of family farms. With the loss of the family farm, a class of society is being lost, and with it, rural landscapes are fading at an alarming rate due to environmental consequences of agribusiness. The decline of the family farm is no myth. According to the Census of Agriculture, a United States Department of Agriculture report revealed, “The number of U.S. farms fell sharply until the early 1970s after peaking at 6.8 million in 1935…by 2002, about 2.1 million farms remained.” The American Farmland Trust estimates an acre of U.S. farmland goes into development every two minutes, while they estimates Colorado has lost 1.26 million acres of agricultural land between 1997 and 2002. This comes out to be an average of 690 acres being lost per day, the third highest in the nation. Colorado is only one example of the trend of the decline of the family farm. Statistics show that Canada has a similar situation there. The number of their farms continues to drop, according to data from the 2006 Census of Agriculture, “declining 7.1% to 229,373 farms over the five-year period between the censuses. This represents 17,550 fewer farms than in 2001”. With all these facts, it is clear that the family farm is declining, and declining sharply at that. If this continues, the family farm will be gone before we know it. One of the...
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