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Across the Editor's Desk: Many slices of pie

03/20/2013 @ 2:24pm

During the eight months that I’ve been in this chair at Successful Farming magazine, I have met more and more growers and producers with side businesses, projects that become new inventions, and a more diverse industry.

You should read Dan Looker’s article Farming’s New Faces. It tells a great story – beyond just the demographics – of how agriculture’s fabric is adapting and evolving for these times.

It’s a great time to be in agriculture. The past five years have been prosperous for many – but not all – sectors of agriculture. That opportunity has opened doors for all kinds of new talent to be a part of this industry. Talent seems to be the key word.

I was with a big seed company’s human resources director recently, and her title included “Talent Acquisition.” What a great endeavor: bring “talent” into her company. She reported to me that in many farm youth organizations, the majority of new members are now young women.

Another interesting source of talent is an influx of new members from urban areas. Many of these kids have never grown up on a farm, never baled hay, never fed a cow. They want to join an exciting, dynamic industry that touches people’s lives. They want to do something that matters. I think that’s great. We should welcome them in.

In the Agriculture.com forums, there was a lively exchange recently as to how to describe this new era of agriculture. Members had plenty of suggestions, from traditional ag to production ag and dozens of others.

Here’s my suggestion: Let’s just call it American Agriculture.

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Ohio Farmers are Suffering 01/28/2014 @ 2:50pm I wish you could do an article on farming in southwest ohio. It has been a nitemare. After the worst drought in 2012 in our county since 1930, banks do not want to deal with any farmers, especially if they raise cattle. That year despite the drought we were able to pay off $1.5M in an operating loan. They used to be structured as revolving so if a farmer had a bad year, they could carry over some of the costs into the next year. Now they will not do that. We have to pay our operating loans completely off in 10 months. Now they frown down on any farmer who raises cattle. We used to raise 1000 head of cattle but no one will lend us money so we ended up selling all the cattle out and paying off producers credit. We cant even get an operating loan because we have 6 empty fairly new and paid for cattle barns, 4000 tons of silage in the bunker and no cattle. we have plenty of equity but the banks want us to put at least $200K in their account so they can loan it back to us at 6%. We never hear about these stories. After seven generations of farming in this family, it looks like we are going to be one less family carrying on the tradition.

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