Older Farmers Farm Differently
James Meade 10/23/2013 @ 11:29pm
As I watch farmers age I see them change their practices and operations. Capital replaces labor. They sell the hogs and the cattle and buy new and bigger machinery. They change their crop rotations and use more processed fertilizer. They practice monoculture featuring corn, soybeans and wheat even on marginal land rather than grow hay or keep permanent pasture. Monoculture increases their interest in crop insurance rather than hedge their income through diversified income streams. As we see fewer but more concentrated animal operations we lose local processing plants which deters small animal operations. Fewer but larger operators become socially isolated and agriculture is no longer a common and appreciated operation.
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