Thursday, May 08, 2014
America's farmers are aging out and the young aren't or can't follow them. Land and equipment are too expensive or worse, few want to work as hard as their parents. If America is to eat, there needs to be a change in attitudes. Farming today is as much mental work as it is physical. There is so much a farmer needs to know to be successful that few can master the detail. Farming should be held up as a desirable occupation, and farmers as stewards of the land. But, it is unlikely either will happen. Urban dwellers and suburbanites don't ask and don't know where food comes from -- other than in packages in a supermarket. They assume food will be there in affordable quantities when they want it. Given the success of America's graying farmers, it has been. But, what about the future as the old retire and die? It seems that we have taken the position that we will deal with that issue when we come to it. Unfortunately, farmers aren't made overnight. It takes experience, discipline and heavy work. Will we learn soon enough to prevent food shortages? Don't bet on it.