Future of family farms at risk

This Old Farm’s vision is to rejuvenate the land one farm at a time. The loss of family farms has been a growing trend in America for years and has devastating effects. See Economic and Social Impact of Family Farms — and Their Loss. We are available to provide training, education, and consultation for those interested in reclaiming lost farm land and making it productive again.

In a recent Morning Ag Clips article Future of Family Farms at Risk, we learn that “there’s no shortage of young people armed with business plans who want to get into farming, and older farmers who want to see their land farmed by a new generation when they retire.” But the issue is that “many farmers have become heavily leveraged in recent decades, having borrowed against the rising value of their farm properties… That means farm owners need to sell their properties for full market value in order to retire, so the only buyers tend to be large agricultural operations consolidating farmland in rural areas or, if the farm is in the shadow of a city, property developers. “If you’re a new farmer who’s trying to buy a piece of land and pay for it by working the land, it’s almost an impossible proposition,” says Christie Young, of Guelph, Ont., who uses Farmlink, a matchmaking service she runs for farm owners and young prospective farmers across Canada “helping them set up partnerships that begin years before the owner’s retirement, such as lease-to-own arrangements that can allow a new farmer to start small and expand.”

Wendell Berry, through his literature, also speaks to encourage young people to learn “good farming–that is, farming that does not destroy either farmland or farm people. In his book “Bringing It to the Table, On Farming and Food” he shares his idea that “the family farm and good farming are inseparable and synonymous because of a law that is well understood, still, by most farmers but that has been ignored in the colleges, offices, and corporations of agriculture for thirty -five or forty years. The law reads something like this: Land that is in human use must be lovingly used; it requires intimate knowledge, attention, and care.”

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