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Where Are The Farms Going?

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As of the year 2008, according to wikipedia, less than two percent of the U.S. population are directly employed in agriculture. Remarkably, this two percent of farmers provide 80 percent of the world’s food supply. They wake up before daybreak, and work hard to tend to crops and animals that provide every eye catching and mouth watering food we see on the shelves in supermarkets. They sacrifice their personal family time to make a profit and continue building a living for not only themselves but their family as well. Farms, big and small, have been around so long that we have depended on them to give us our needs and wants which leads us to easily forgetting the underlying struggles that these farms and farmers encounter throughout their busy life schedule.

Leeson Oliver, a freshman here at North Hall has grown up and works on a dairy farm himself. When asked about what changes he has seen in the business aspect of farming in his lifetime, Oliver responded, “it’s not about farmers making a decision and changing it, it’s that they make the decision and expect you to change for it. We don’t know if this is official yet, but there is talk that… If you are not shipping out a tanker a day of milk, then they are gonna drop your business.”

Oliver also stated that one of the biggest challenges he and his family experience on the dairy farm were milk prices.

“Milk prices go up and down unexpectedly, and you have to have your cows producing a constant amount of milk,” said Oliver.

So why has the percentage of farming across the U.S. and even locally decreased so drastically over the years? The reason is mainly due to the fluctuating milk prices across the globe. Farming doesn’t keep to itself, whatever farmers are producing it is distributed to all areas across the world. Therefore causing milk prices to either skyrocket or plummet depending on what’s available in the market. Oil prices across the world can change gradually or severely depending on the economy and political standpoint during that time, according to an article written on NPR, titled “Why Do Milk Prices Spike And Crash? Because It’s Like Oil.” The article really goes into depth about the comparison and the reason behind the changing milk prices in America and globally. As explained in the beginning of the article, many people don’t realize the milk prices falling only marginally, but for the farmers that work hard to deliver the product experience the declining price in a dramatic way. Since the year 2015, farmers are getting 20 percent less profit for their milk; Which is 40 percent less than when milk prices hit a high peak two years ago according to NPR.

So where exactly are the farms going? It is not exactly that the farms are being so called “relocated” it’s that they are declining and rely on burdened farmers, running with difficult tasks such as paying off highly priced equipment and their need to keep the land in good condition, and being able to buy more animals that help their business grow. It is encouraged to thank a farmer, for with humble hearts they help provide a living for the world and for themselves.

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Where Are The Farms Going?