What Farmers Want You to Know

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

There have been posts recently that have pointed out to some of us that there is a vast chasm between the American farmer and the American consumer. In all the cases that I've read, the farmers have taken the posts and turned them to an educational opportunity, but there is monstrous confusion amongst the food buying public about what farmers do, want, deal with, approve of and how and why we do what we do. Many of you start out saying yes indeed, I support my local farmer, but those dirty agri-business folks, well, they are ruining the earth. Sorry, not that easy.

In this thread, I hope to have the members of the farm forum who do farm post some of what we really need and want the members who don't farm to know. I'll start out with a statistic. When Stan and I started farming in 1972, the American farm population was 11% of the total population. We are now very near 1%, and no that is not a typo. ONE PERCENT of our total population feeds all of us. To me, that is a terribly frightening statistic. Why has the farm population dropped so drastically? Isn't owning and working your own piece of land the American dream? Well, it's economics. There's not much profit in farming, some years, none at all, and it takes a different kind of person to know that and keep going. Beyond that, it is important to know that the optimum percentage of the population that SHOULD be farming is 15%.

this addition is promted by a Dmail that I got from a non subscriber. They didn't believe that 1 % of the population could indeed feed the rest because of the imported food:

"I can't post to any threads because I'm not subscribed., but I wanted to comment about your Farm Life Forum thread: a statistic that "Farmers are 1% of the population". This probably doesn't mean that "1% of the population feeds all of us", but that more and more of the food (and some other resources) in the markets is from overseas."

My answer:
No, it means that 1% of the population is farming and yes, they do feed all of you. The imported food doesn't equal the amount that we expport to the world. The US is capable of feeding itself and much more. The imported stuff is excess as far as our critical food supply goes.

This message was edited Dec 9, 2005 5:00 PM

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