"The net result, he said [the 'he' in this case is John W. Phipps], will always be an ever-smaller need for replacement farmers. This huge implication for young people who would like to farm but aren't in line to inherit a large farm.Here is what I think ... that statement is true ... that statement is scary ... that statement reiterates how difficult I think this farming thing can be ... and to top it all off it makes really feel for the students that I work with that have a desire to farm. Just a couple weekends ago I was chatting with a recently graduated high school student from my church who has a HUGE desire to come back and work on the family farm, but with only a few hundred acres does he even have much of a fighting chance (if he continues with what he knows).
'Put bluntly, agriculture's problem with young people is we don't need them,' he said."
Mr. Nation also relates this statement from Mr. Phipps,
"He said throughout his whole farming career he had heard that X percentage of farmers were 65 years old and would soon need replacing. And yet, due to the constant increase in scale there has never been a shortage of farmers."Now, don't get me wrong I'm not advocating keeping farms small just because they are pretty and romantic. Or that we need to make sure there is a farm for everyone that wants to farm. As with all things I think there needs to be a high level of quality, but I believe there is something dangerous behind these "titan farms". As Mr. Phipps said, there is a problem when you have "ever-increasing productivity in an industry with a fixed land base."
So, do you think we can turn back the clock on this trend on a large scale? I think that those looking to grab a niche (maybe more on that tomorrow) can find a place, but will we just continue to have farms that are ever increasing in size or will the bubble burst? I would love to hear your thoughts!