In the US, farming was once considered a significant occupation. Statistics show that in 2012, not more than 1% of the American population were professional farmers. Today, farmers face many challenges that the general public is oblivious to.
Most of the general public have an obsolete view when one thinks of a farm. They consider it a small parcel of land owned and run by family members, an area where cattle are raised and crops are harvested. In reality, present-day farms are required to overhaul their operations to cater to demands and stay competitively priced while adjusting to new technology.
The Top 3 Challenges Face by the Farming Industry
Rural farming communities of today are expected to consider integrating modern technology into their farming industry. As easy as it may sound, it is far from it. To make such a shift in rural areas is quite a challenge. The communications systems are not as up-to-date compared to urban areas. This makes it difficult for the farming industry to make the switch and become accustomed to ever-changing technological trends.
Technology is also an opportunity in the farming industry. Research shows that the farmers who made the shift and involved modern technology in their business noticed an increase in their production process. It also had a substantial effect on labor supply.
The decline in Farming as a Profession
Very few Americans claim the farming industry as their primary occupation. In our country, most farmers are now above 55 years of age. Most young adults don’t consider the farming industry as one of their aspired professions.
Many farmers are held responsible for how the farming business affects the environment. These days, the emphasis is placed on conservation and sustainability. This has resulted in public protests against some farmer’s certain practices. These practices refer to the pollution of water, raising livestock, chemical pesticides, fertilizers, etc.
On the other hand, many farmers have changed their methods and practices to be more self-sustainable and environmentally friendly.
This is not the only environmental issue that farmers face in their industry. Climate and weather changes are also ecological issues with which farmers must deal with. Severe droughts and intense storms have made the farming industry even more demanding and difficult.
Opportunities in the Farming Industry
Despite all of the challenges, there are still opportunities in the farming industry. The NSAC (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition) works hard to provide farming opportunities to all of America’s independent family farmers. New federal programs and policies are coming out to support young adults in the farming industry.
Every few years or so, Congress reauthorizes the state farm bill in which legislative decisions pertaining to funding and policies provide opportunities for women, beginning, veteran, and minority farmers. The government also considers the funding and monetary aspect of supporting young adults entering the farming business. They will be there to support and fund any farmers involved in the yearly appropriations process and deliver guide program applications.
As you can see, the farming industry is no stroll in the park. Many challenges, such as environmental issues and an overall decline of the industry, make it difficult to succeed as an independent farmer. However, due to new technological advances and government assistance, farming can be a reliable source of income for those who prefer getting their hands dirty with a hard day’s work. Farming is absolutely essential for our nation’s survival, and the hope is that more young people will choose the profession. Perhaps with the modernization of technology facilitating smoother operations, along with government incentive programs, more people will choose to make farming their life-long career.