My wife and I have started a farm this past October. We started raising pasture-raised laying hens for eggs and have added raising pasture-raised chicken and lamb. We will add cattle soon and turkeys for thanksgiving.
My wife and I both received degrees from Oregon State. I believe one key is that we can combine our education and continuing education with knowledge from current farmers to produce healthy land, food and people. While this work doesn't require a degree, it does require the ability to think outside the box and solve problems. We cannot let other people think for us.
Young people want to farm but they have been tought that there is no money in farming. What we have learned is that directly marketing to your community enables the farmer to gain more of the food dollar. This, along with stacking multiple complementary enterprises on the same land, enables a farm to support a family. Luckily we have proven successful models like "Polyface Farms" to model after.
If I may counter a few points:
Farming is lonely:
- Our farm is far from lonely. People visit and we interract with our community. There are customers to interact with and animals to share the land with.
Farming is risky
- Farming is *much* less risky if you start small and stay out of debt.
Farming is long hours
- Farming takes a lot of work and it is typically on opposite ends of the day (for animals) but it isn't necessarily "long hours."
Populated dynamic cities are too good an idea to abandon
- I have nothing wrong with cities. Many of our customers are in cities. However, if everyone lived in cities no one would live in farming communities which supply food to these cities. I would love to see a mutual-respect grow between people who live in cities and farming communities. We both have much to learn from one-another.
People want their morning NYTimes and cappechino, not an udder in sore need of milking
- With current technology (think smartphones, tablets, etc.) I can sip my coffee and read my NYTimes (or any other newspaper across the globe) while I "milk my cows" in the milking parlor.
We've noticed a growing contingent of young farmers. We are very encouraged by this and it is exciting to have young friends our age who are farming full-time. There is hope.
posted 2 years, 11 months ago
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