Monday, July 27, 2009

Why farms get larger and what can be done

Occasionally I listen to people lament the decline of small farms in America, and I try to explain economies of scale and the litany of other reasons that push small farms into big farms.
Usually I get blank looks and occasionally I get the "I think everyone should farm organically" rant.
Carolynn Orr addresses a lot of this in her testimony before the Pew/Hopkins Commission.
I have known Carolynn since I was 18, and while I can't really say that I liked her then, she is brutally honest and cares about the future of rural America. She was, and is, in my mind one of the greatest educators I have been around, and taught me a tremendous amount about animal science (and life).

Don't read this unless you can devote 10 minutes to it.
Then stop and think about your job.
Would you give up a salary, health insurance, a 401K, and retirement to eek out a living on a "small" farm?
Remember that what you pay at the store for a raw food product (apples, eggs, milk, produce, rice, nuts) is roughly 100-500% more than the farm gate price.
Something to think about