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(CNBC)   The biggest economic struggle facing America today? Convincing youths that farming is an acceptable career choice   (cnbc.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, petroleum engineers, UC Riverside, Mcdonough, investments, sustainable agriculture, rural america  
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2912 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Apr 2014 at 4:40 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-11 11:48:34 PM  
Hopefully for not much longer

Automation will eventually take over all farm jobs
 
2014-04-11 11:56:41 PM  
The article is incorrect. The average age of new farmers is less than 10 years old.

Incorporating.
 
2014-04-11 11:57:38 PM  

cman: Hopefully for not much longer

Automation will eventually take over all farm jobs


Industrial factory farming will continue to make it harder for any newcomers to break into the industry and make any big money.  Agricultural conglomerates and bio firms like Monsanto will make out like bandits, the little guys won't.

One possible area of growth is in small 'boutique' farms that partner with high end grocers or chefs to provide products that the big guys don't bother with due to low volume.  There's been a surge of interest in heirloom varieties of various vegetables, as well as in heritage breeds of livestock.  The market for those will always be limited, but there are people making good money farming high ends produce and livestock to supply restaurants looking to differentiate themselves from the crowd to attract more discerning diners.
 
2014-04-12 01:05:05 AM  

TuteTibiImperes: cman: Hopefully for not much longer

Automation will eventually take over all farm jobs

Industrial factory farming will continue to make it harder for any newcomers to break into the industry and make any big money.  Agricultural conglomerates and bio firms like Monsanto will make out like bandits, the little guys won't.

One possible area of growth is in small 'boutique' farms that partner with high end grocers or chefs to provide products that the big guys don't bother with due to low volume.  There's been a surge of interest in heirloom varieties of various vegetables, as well as in heritage breeds of livestock.  The market for those will always be limited, but there are people making good money farming high ends produce and livestock to supply restaurants looking to differentiate themselves from the crowd to attract more discerning diners.


1. I'd rather have more food than less. GMOs are an excellent tool to increase yields and make farming more effective and efficient. Unfortunately Monsanto has shameful business practices. This has made the usage of GMOs controversial. The anti-science anti-GMO movement would not be as big if Monsanto werent such dicks.

2. There will always be a market for upscale locally grown goods. It makes people feel a little better about themselves. It makes them happy, and there isnt anything wrong with that. However it does nothing for me and most people who are content with eating cheap processed food. If it makes you feel smug, fare ahead. However please dont feel sanctimonious over us vulgar folk.
 
2014-04-12 02:47:46 AM  
where's the nobility in a line of work that requires heavy subsidy to break even?
 
2014-04-12 04:52:51 AM  
I was raised on farms and ranches in Idaho and Montana.  It can be done.  It's damned hard work, but rewarding it its own way ;)
 
2014-04-12 04:55:23 AM  
It is, if you're a corporation.
 
2014-04-12 04:56:42 AM  
Oh, it can be very profitable, depending on what's grown.
www.redorbit.com
 
2014-04-12 05:01:48 AM  
Depends on what you mean by "acceptable", I guess. I know plenty of starry-eyed yoofs who want to be farmers, and are fully aware that they'll never make any money off of it.
 
2014-04-12 05:02:00 AM  
yeah, all it takes is a couple million dollars worth of equipment and land.  I wonder why more people aren't jumping into the industry.
 
2014-04-12 05:05:41 AM  
That's because farming offers the same chances of success as graduating with a feminist studies bachelor's degree with a 2.1 GPA, but costs ten times as much to get into.
 
2014-04-12 05:50:54 AM  
img.fark.net

img.fark.net
 
2014-04-12 05:51:15 AM  

Yamaneko2: That's because farming offers the same chances of success as graduating with a feminist studies bachelor's degree with a 2.1 GPA, but costs ten times as much to get into.


Which makes me ask, where is all the outrage from feminists about the lack of female farmers? They seem obsessed only with the number of female IT workers. Wonder why they don't care about the gender disparity in farming.
 
2014-04-12 05:56:29 AM  

EngineerAU: Yamaneko2: That's because farming offers the same chances of success as graduating with a feminist studies bachelor's degree with a 2.1 GPA, but costs ten times as much to get into.

Which makes me ask, where is all the outrage from feminists about the lack of female farmers? They seem obsessed only with the number of female IT workers. Wonder why they don't care about the gender disparity in farming.


They don't worry about disparity in jobs that don't exist
 
2014-04-12 06:00:48 AM  
Why wouldn't they? It looks pretty damn lucrative to me.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kY9EX28GKvk&feature=player_embedded

(NSFW Language)
 
2014-04-12 06:02:30 AM  
I blame gay Parie
 
2014-04-12 06:04:27 AM  
Maybe if those billions of tax dollars paid out to "farm subsidies" actually went to help rural young people to start up a real food-producing farm- instead of to millionaire city-dwellers to either continue factory-farming  corn syrup and cattle feed, or continue not growing anything on the acreage they never intended to grow anything on?
 
2014-04-12 06:07:55 AM  

EngineerAU: Yamaneko2: That's because farming offers the same chances of success as graduating with a feminist studies bachelor's degree with a 2.1 GPA, but costs ten times as much to get into.

Which makes me ask, where is all the outrage from feminists about the lack of female farmers? They seem obsessed only with the number of female IT workers. Wonder why they don't care about the gender disparity in farming.


At least where I live, there is getting to be more female farmers, though I'm pretty sure this is because the income is so crappy now men are more reluctant.
 
2014-04-12 06:37:00 AM  
It wouldn't be so difficult if farmers were required to pay their employees more than $2  -$5 an hour. In the area that I grew up, most farm employees are paid $300-$400 weekly, worked 90 hours a week and laid off after harvest. Because they are seasonal, the workers can't even get unemployment
 
2014-04-12 07:07:33 AM  

cman: TuteTibiImperes: cman: Hopefully for not much longer

Automation will eventually take over all farm jobs

Industrial factory farming will continue to make it harder for any newcomers to break into the industry and make any big money.  Agricultural conglomerates and bio firms like Monsanto will make out like bandits, the little guys won't.

One possible area of growth is in small 'boutique' farms that partner with high end grocers or chefs to provide products that the big guys don't bother with due to low volume.  There's been a surge of interest in heirloom varieties of various vegetables, as well as in heritage breeds of livestock.  The market for those will always be limited, but there are people making good money farming high ends produce and livestock to supply restaurants looking to differentiate themselves from the crowd to attract more discerning diners.

1. I'd rather have more food than less. GMOs are an excellent tool to increase yields and make farming more effective and efficient. Unfortunately Monsanto has shameful business practices. This has made the usage of GMOs controversial. The anti-science anti-GMO movement would not be as big if Monsanto werent such dicks.


I'm fine with the science behind GMO crops, but yeah, Monsanto has some terrible PR.  Suing farmers for planting seeds they bought from third party sources that just happened to have Monsanto DNA in them, or for having Monsanto-derived crops growing in their fields from seeds that have blown in from other other sources is just ridiculous.  

2. There will always be a market for upscale locally grown goods. It makes people feel a little better about themselves. It makes them happy, and there isnt anything wrong with that. However it does nothing for me and most people who are content with eating cheap processed food. If it makes you feel smug, fare ahead. However please dont feel sanctimonious over us vulgar folk.

For me it's about whatever the highest quality product is.  It's not about being smug, it's about buying produce that was picked ripe and shipped at peak flavor vs picked prematurely and chemically ripened on the long journey from South America.   It's about having access to meat from breeds raised for superior flavor (whether due to naturally better marbling inherent to the breed, a better diet being fed to them as they're raised, or allowing them more room to roam to develop better muscle tone) rather than meat from animals designed to have the lowest fat content for marketing purposes or to mature as quickly as possible in pens for the highest yields at the cost of the quality of the final product.
 
2014-04-12 07:18:44 AM  
What? I was told that due to lack of money and opportunity urban hipsters were flocking to farming! I saw it on Fark!
 
2014-04-12 07:36:10 AM  
At no point in the history of man has anyone wanted to be a farmer. Farm owner, maybe, but never the person who tills the land. Hell, we brought in slaves to prevent us from doing that work.
 
2014-04-12 07:37:42 AM  

Asa Phelps: where's the nobility in a line of work that requires heavy subsidy to break even?


The subsidy isn't there for the farmer, it's there for the consumer.  If it wasn't subsidized, the food we get would more simply rise in cost, because it is a necessity, everyone needs it to live.  But our government chose to make it affordable to all, essentially helping foot the bill.  Really, it's the only way to have an advanced society.

It's one small part of the house of cards we have set up.  Relative are the "living wages" we're all getting paid to do what we do. It's cheaper to pay off all the farmers than to raise the wages of everyone else to be able to afford to eat right(right enough to survive and be able to live here and there at any rate).
 
2014-04-12 07:39:21 AM  
Gee, it's almost as if we've spent 50 years telling them to go to college so they could "make something" of themselves instead of operating machines. Didn't expect it to sink in.
 
2014-04-12 07:43:39 AM  
just let the youngsters know why, as stated in TFA, the older farmers are sticking around longer : the farm
welfare bills create some really, really lucrative paychecks.  the biggest lie told by farmers is " I didnt make any money last year "   LOL  they are  the biggest welfare queens in the country, but dont tell them that,
they all consider themselves to be good republicans.
 
2014-04-12 07:51:10 AM  

Plant Rights Activist: yeah, all it takes is a couple million dollars worth of equipment and land.  I wonder why more people aren't jumping into the industry.


At the VERY least. Its a pretty much non-secret that the Banks work with companies like Monsanto and Cargill to lobby State legislatures and local zoning boards, to press for rezoning on Farmland to build housing tracts and mini-malls. When the only company one is permitted to buy their seed stock from is allowed to provide third-party mortgages in exchange for "discounts" on that seed stock and purchase contracts while at the same time that company is lobbying for developers, you have a serious legal obstacle to entry-level farming. The other issue is those companies have huge warehouses full of the products, and can raise or lower the prices of the commodity at will simply by hoarding or dumping those commodities. That was illegal until Ronald Reagan was President.

Nobody is interested in an industry that is being mortgaged, taxed and rezoned out of existence just so a couple of Corporations can control the markets.
 
2014-04-12 07:59:28 AM  

omeganuepsilon: Asa Phelps: where's the nobility in a line of work that requires heavy subsidy to break even?

The subsidy isn't there for the farmer, it's there for the consumer.  If it wasn't subsidized, the food we get would more simply rise in cost, because it is a necessity, everyone needs it to live.  But our government chose to make it affordable to all, essentially helping foot the bill.  Really, it's the only way to have an advanced society.

It's one small part of the house of cards we have set up.  Relative are the "living wages" we're all getting paid to do what we do. It's cheaper to pay off all the farmers than to raise the wages of everyone else to be able to afford to eat right(right enough to survive and be able to live here and there at any rate).


That's backwards. Farm subsidies are designed to restrict the amount of food produced. Take away the subsidies, the farmers all produce more, and food prices go down.
 
2014-04-12 08:07:25 AM  

rumpelstiltskin: That's backwards. Farm subsidies are designed to restrict the amount of food produced. Take away the subsidies, the farmers all produce more, and food prices go down.


We do both.  We subsidize planting of some crops, and we subsidize not planting others.  We do it through direct handouts, through price floors, and through protectionism.  The whole system is a schizophrenic mess.  Don't get me started on sugar tariffs.
 
2014-04-12 08:10:54 AM  
There's no way this could ever be pulled off, but it'd be great if schools could have several weeks or even a semester spent living/working on a farm. Students could learn about nutrition, economics, biology, botany, genetics, sex ed, weather, astronomy, geology, first aid...
 
2014-04-12 08:11:42 AM  

omeganuepsilon: Asa Phelps: where's the nobility in a line of work that requires heavy subsidy to break even?

The subsidy isn't there for the farmer, it's there for the consumer.  If it wasn't subsidized, the food we get would more simply rise in cost, because it is a necessity, everyone needs it to live.  But our government chose to make it affordable to all, essentially helping foot the bill.  Really, it's the only way to have an advanced society.

It's one small part of the house of cards we have set up.  Relative are the "living wages" we're all getting paid to do what we do. It's cheaper to pay off all the farmers than to raise the wages of everyone else to be able to afford to eat right(right enough to survive and be able to live here and there at any rate).


Subsidies are there so US farmers can compete effectively with farmers from overseas. Without them a lot of crops wouldn't be worth growing in the US, which would be fine until there was some sort of crisis and the nations that supply the US with food decided to use it as a bargaining chip.

Unfortunately the subsidies tend to work much better for MegaCorp farms than Mom and Pop.
 
2014-04-12 08:17:06 AM  
I don't understand why family farmers are held in such esteem, merely because they inherited land. Surely the idea that you have some sort of "Right to Farm" (if your father was a farmer) runs counter to the idea of equality, opportunity, and independence.


Even a small farm is quite valuable, as far as land prices go.  Family farms are, at best, break-even enterprises. Instead of propping them up with subsidies, they should go broke *naturally*, so that the land and resources they use inefficiently can be consolidated into corporate farms of more profitable scale.
 
2014-04-12 08:21:50 AM  

letrole: I don't understand why family farmers are held in such esteem, merely because they inherited land. Surely the idea that you have some sort of "Right to Farm" (if your father was a farmer) runs counter to the idea of equality, opportunity, and independence. Even a small farm is quite valuable, as far as land prices go.  Family farms are, at best, break-even enterprises. Instead of propping them up with subsidies, they should go broke *naturally*, so that the land and resources they use inefficiently can be consolidated into corporate farms of more profitable scale.

9/10.  Nicely baited!
 
2014-04-12 08:22:27 AM  
What's not to love about an industry where even the seeds are ruled with an iron grip by corporations that'll happily sue you and your family into oblivion?
 
2014-04-12 08:26:53 AM  

Asa Phelps: where's the nobility in a line of work that requires heavy subsidy to break even?


But enough about banking...
 
2014-04-12 08:28:58 AM  
"High farm profits have kept some older farmers working longer..."

Five paragraphs later, same article: "...and other government regulations, make farming almost prohibitive in today's world."

Yep. Totally prohibitive. Those older farmers just love losing money year after year.
 
2014-04-12 08:29:40 AM  

OMFGHFSWTMFFWT: Maybe if those billions of tax dollars paid out to "farm subsidies" actually went to help rural young people to start up a real food-producing farm- instead of to millionaire city-dwellers to either continue factory-farming  corn syrup and cattle feed, or continue not growing anything on the acreage they never intended to grow anything on?


Ah, but young rural people are poor and don't have millions of dollars to spread around Washington or their own lobbyists! So how will it benefit our politicians to do that, when they can continue to take generous campaign contributions to help write the laws that the wealthiest members of the agribusiness community want? All five of them.
 
2014-04-12 08:32:20 AM  

cman: TuteTibiImperes: cman: Hopefully for not much longer

Automation will eventually take over all farm jobs

Industrial factory farming will continue to make it harder for any newcomers to break into the industry and make any big money.  Agricultural conglomerates and bio firms like Monsanto will make out like bandits, the little guys won't.

One possible area of growth is in small 'boutique' farms that partner with high end grocers or chefs to provide products that the big guys don't bother with due to low volume.  There's been a surge of interest in heirloom varieties of various vegetables, as well as in heritage breeds of livestock.  The market for those will always be limited, but there are people making good money farming high ends produce and livestock to supply restaurants looking to differentiate themselves from the crowd to attract more discerning diners.

1. I'd rather have more food than less. GMOs are an excellent tool to increase yields and make farming more effective and efficient. Unfortunately Monsanto has shameful business practices. This has made the usage of GMOs controversial. The anti-science anti-GMO movement would not be as big if Monsanto werent such dicks.

2. There will always be a market for upscale locally grown goods. It makes people feel a little better about themselves. It makes them happy, and there isnt anything wrong with that. However it does nothing for me and most people who are content with eating cheap processed food. If it makes you feel smug, fare ahead. However please dont feel sanctimonious over us vulgar folk.


Do you not have taste buds or something?  Store tomatoes (except some cherry tomatoes) taste like wet red cardboard.  For me it's about flavor, not smugness.

/I get my smug from my hybrid car :)
 
2014-04-12 08:32:42 AM  

cman: Hopefully for not much longer

Automation will eventually take over all farm jobs


Nevada called
 
2014-04-12 08:37:22 AM  
So when will Walmart start selling weed?
 
2014-04-12 08:38:10 AM  

rumpelstiltskin: omeganuepsilon: Asa Phelps: where's the nobility in a line of work that requires heavy subsidy to break even?

The subsidy isn't there for the farmer, it's there for the consumer.  If it wasn't subsidized, the food we get would more simply rise in cost, because it is a necessity, everyone needs it to live.  But our government chose to make it affordable to all, essentially helping foot the bill.  Really, it's the only way to have an advanced society.

It's one small part of the house of cards we have set up.  Relative are the "living wages" we're all getting paid to do what we do. It's cheaper to pay off all the farmers than to raise the wages of everyone else to be able to afford to eat right(right enough to survive and be able to live here and there at any rate).

That's backwards. Farm subsidies are designed to restrict the amount of food produced. Take away the subsidies, the farmers all produce more, and food prices go down.


Actually, here in the U.S., we have several kinds of subsidies; price supports to keep the price up (which certainly doesn't "restrict the amount of food produced", AND no-grow payments in other places to reduce supply, which does exactly what you say...and then, of course, food stamps to allow people to buy the food we've just propped up the price on.

There's probably a free market buried under all that somewhere :)

(full disclosure:  some types of farm subsidy may be going away, I haven't followed the recent farm bill in D.C. at all)
 
2014-04-12 08:38:46 AM  

autopsybeverage: "High farm profits have kept some older farmers working longer..."

Five paragraphs later, same article: "...and other government regulations, make farming almost prohibitive in today's world."

Yep. Totally prohibitive. Those older farmers just love losing money year after year.


Nothing contradictory there.  There's a lot of regulation that is designed to add barriers to entry and keep profits high for large, existing companies.  Farming is no exception.
 
2014-04-12 08:39:07 AM  

BMFPitt: rumpelstiltskin: That's backwards. Farm subsidies are designed to restrict the amount of food produced. Take away the subsidies, the farmers all produce more, and food prices go down.

We do both.  We subsidize planting of some crops, and we subsidize not planting others.  We do it through direct handouts, through price floors, and through protectionism.  The whole system is a schizophrenic mess.  Don't get me started on sugar tariffs.


I'm willing to believe that we directly subsidize planting certain crops, but I'm not able to find any instances that are of the form, "We'll give you this money if and only you plant X." In other words, what I'm able to find are references to cases where the farmer isn't really paid for planting X, he's paid for not planting Y.
I don't want to sound snide, because I don't think you've made a silly claim. But I am curious enough that I would like to see an example.
 
2014-04-12 08:40:26 AM  

HotIgneous Intruder: So when will Walmart start selling weed?


I'd bet sooner than we think, and CostCo too...it'll be interesting to see if the high-end dispensaries can compete with weed at, I dunno...a buck a pound or something.
 
2014-04-12 09:00:37 AM  

rumpelstiltskin: I'm willing to believe that we directly subsidize planting certain crops, but I'm not able to find any instances that are of the form, "We'll give you this money if and only you plant X." In other words, what I'm able to find are references to cases where the farmer isn't really paid for planting X, he's paid for not planting Y.
I don't want to sound snide, because I don't think you've made a silly claim. But I am curious enough that I would like to see an example.


So you've never heard of ethanol?  Or counter-cyclical payments?
 
2014-04-12 09:07:25 AM  
If somebody wanted to lease me several million dollars of land and equipment, train me, and could show me the math that proves I'd actually make a decent living operating it, I'd love to be a farmer.

But I see the chances of that being somewhere between 0 and 00.

/I'd also require an internet connection that doesnt suck on my farm.  Which probably has even worse odds.
 
2014-04-12 09:15:09 AM  
Jesus.
 
2014-04-12 09:24:38 AM  

PunGent: rumpelstiltskin: omeganuepsilon: Asa Phelps: where's the nobility in a line of work that requires heavy subsidy to break even?

The subsidy isn't there for the farmer, it's there for the consumer.  If it wasn't subsidized, the food we get would more simply rise in cost, because it is a necessity, everyone needs it to live.  But our government chose to make it affordable to all, essentially helping foot the bill.  Really, it's the only way to have an advanced society.

It's one small part of the house of cards we have set up.  Relative are the "living wages" we're all getting paid to do what we do. It's cheaper to pay off all the farmers than to raise the wages of everyone else to be able to afford to eat right(right enough to survive and be able to live here and there at any rate).

That's backwards. Farm subsidies are designed to restrict the amount of food produced. Take away the subsidies, the farmers all produce more, and food prices go down.

Actually, here in the U.S., we have several kinds of subsidies; price supports to keep the price up (which certainly doesn't "restrict the amount of food produced", AND no-grow payments in other places to reduce supply, which does exactly what you say...and then, of course, food stamps to allow people to buy the food we've just propped up the price on.

There's probably a free market buried under all that somewhere :)

(full disclosure:  some types of farm subsidy may be going away, I haven't followed the recent farm bill in D.C. at all)


My feeling is that at the bottom of the whole byzantine mess is some balance between the rich getting richer off agriculture and starving people not rioting and burning down mansions.
 
2014-04-12 09:29:59 AM  

PunGent: rumpelstiltskin: omeganuepsilon: Asa Phelps: where's the nobility in a line of work that requires heavy subsidy to break even?

The subsidy isn't there for the farmer, it's there for the consumer.  If it wasn't subsidized, the food we get would more simply rise in cost, because it is a necessity, everyone needs it to live.  But our government chose to make it affordable to all, essentially helping foot the bill.  Really, it's the only way to have an advanced society.

It's one small part of the house of cards we have set up.  Relative are the "living wages" we're all getting paid to do what we do. It's cheaper to pay off all the farmers than to raise the wages of everyone else to be able to afford to eat right(right enough to survive and be able to live here and there at any rate).

That's backwards. Farm subsidies are designed to restrict the amount of food produced. Take away the subsidies, the farmers all produce more, and food prices go down.

Actually, here in the U.S., we have several kinds of subsidies; price supports to keep the price up (which certainly doesn't "restrict the amount of food produced", AND no-grow payments in other places to reduce supply, which does exactly what you say...and then, of course, food stamps to allow people to buy the food we've just propped up the price on.

There's probably a free market buried under all that somewhere :)

(full disclosure:  some types of farm subsidy may be going away, I haven't followed the recent farm bill in D.C. at all)


True enough I suppose, but there are some subsidies that make certain things extremely cheap.

But either way, it's all about manipulating the economy, less about welfare of the farmers.
 
2014-04-12 09:32:12 AM  

ambercat: My feeling is that at the bottom of the whole byzantine mess is some balance between the rich getting richer off agriculture and starving people not rioting and burning down mansions.


Ayup, I was going to delve into that somewhat, but when I do that things get entirely too wordy.

Also, it's getting worse all the time, as if they think they've still got room to push.  Same as many societies in history, it's going to crumble from that eventually.
 
2014-04-12 09:34:36 AM  

rumpelstiltskin: I'm willing to believe that we directly subsidize planting certain crops, but I'm not able to find any instances that are of the form, "We'll give you this money if and only you plant X."



One of the rackets in the sixties and early seventies was for farmers to start tilling wetlands they owned that had never been used for crops because it was too swampy and prone to flooding every year.


So all you had to do was plant it for a minimum of three seasons, then it qualified for reduced tillage subsidies. So in the end, you got paid for not tilling land that wouldn't be tilled at all unless somebody paid you to not till it in the first place.
 
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