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The Struggle of Young Farmers and Government Policy

 
Posts: 22
Location: Cape Cod, zone 7a
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Hi all,

I've just created a blog post regarding the question of Why is it so hard to get into farming? What is the root cause of these struggles?

I've come down to monetary and government policy.

In the blog post I share some relevant charts to show the extent of the problem.

Other blog posts also involve land management, usually discussing home scale stuff like holistic lawn care and the value of great insulation over your gardens.

I hope this information falls upon some some people that can value it.

https://www.monardagarden.com/news
 
pollinator
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The transition from "large garden" to "small farm" requires a ton of time, labor, and equipment. That equipment can easily run tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes hundreds of thousands. Banks want proof of income before they'll give people loans, but it takes a while for a new farm to establish its income. That means, even if an aspiring farmer gets access to land, they still have an enormous hurdle in their way.

I've been trying to make that transition for 8 years now. I'm still nowhere close.

One way to help aspiring farmers would be to get the same type of small harvesting equipment that's available in Asia, and make it available here at an affordable price. Because having a machine to harvest my beans would mean I could grow an acre or more, instead of being limited to what I can harvest by hand. The seed company I grow for wants 100-400 pounds of it per year! The most I've been able to pick and clean was around 20 pounds, and that was with doing no other farm work.

I've been working on coming up with designs for equipment that would work on my existing tractor, but I also don't have anywhere to build my prototypes, so it's just theory. You find a company that can make or import small harvesting equipment, at a price normal people can afford, and you'll see the ranks of successful small farmers explode.
 
Adam Geriak
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Thanks for sharing your story Ellendra.

To me, this is a case-in-point that the economic system that we find ourselves in is not designed for us to succeed. The value of so many goods has increased so dramatically over the past 50 years, but the price that you can get for growing your beans for seed is hardly enough to justify a bank giving you a loan.

Meanwhile, I can pick weeds for wealthy people and charge $50 an hour for me and my helpers time. A bank will see that I
am making money and will finance all the equipment I want.

In a sane society, the economy would value the production of food or (or seed to make food) more highly than pulling dandelions and violets out of one families prized Dahlia patch.

The inherent value of a good or service is decoupled from its realized value, and this is the fault of both the members of the federal reserve, and the federal government for supporting policies that have led us here.






Ellendra Nauriel wrote:The transition from "large garden" to "small farm" requires a ton of time, labor, and equipment. That equipment can easily run tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes hundreds of thousands. Banks want proof of income before they'll give people loans, but it takes a while for a new farm to establish its income. That means, even if an aspiring farmer gets access to land, they still have an enormous hurdle in their way.

I've been trying to make that transition for 8 years now. I'm still nowhere close.

One way to help aspiring farmers would be to get the same type of small harvesting equipment that's available in Asia, and make it available here at an affordable price. Because having a machine to harvest my beans would mean I could grow an acre or more, instead of being limited to what I can harvest by hand. The seed company I grow for wants 100-400 pounds of it per year! The most I've been able to pick and clean was around 20 pounds, and that was with doing no other farm work.

I've been working on coming up with designs for equipment that would work on my existing tractor, but I also don't have anywhere to build my prototypes, so it's just theory. You find a company that can make or import small harvesting equipment, at a price normal people can afford, and you'll see the ranks of successful small farmers explode.

 
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Adam said, "Meanwhile, I can pick weeds for wealthy people and charge $50 an hour for me and my helpers time. A bank will see that I am making money and will finance all the equipment I want.  



I personally have not seen anything as easy as this.

To me, to be a successful young farmer, a person would need to have either grown up in a successful farming family, married into one, or been independently wealthy enough to buy a successful working farm.

That is not to say it can't or hasn't been done. This is just how I have seen or heard of it being done.

How are you struggling?
 
pollinator
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If you can make $50 an hour pulling weeds, why would you want to be a farmer?  Every small farmer I know is struggling to make a living and none of them are making $50 an hour.
 
pollinator
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I work for a lot of landscapers. They may *charge* a client $50 for a hour (or more like a "person hour") of work, but that's gross revenue. They are not making anything like $50 hour profits. The same laborers may split their time doing some seasonal farm labor and some landscaping. I am not sure there is so much difference in the wages between the one and the other. However for the business owner perspective, the landscaper does not need to own land, they can run a business out of residential garage in some parts.
 
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Adam Geriak wrote:Hi all,

I've just created a blog post regarding the question of Why is it so hard to get into farming? What is the root cause of these struggles?

I've come down to monetary and government policy.
In the blog post I share some relevant charts to show the extent of the problem.
Other blog posts also involve land management, usually discussing home scale stuff like holistic lawn care and the value of great insulation over your gardens.
I hope this information falls upon some some people that can value it.
https://www.monardagarden.com/news



Think of starting and growing a Food Forest as the same as starting a growing a Monetary Fund to get started. You want to align your current living situation to where you have a positive cash flow first. Do not depend on Banks to get you started, save your money and grow it. Like creating sweals on the land, setup revenue cash streams into your savings until you get to the point where you can buy the canvas of land upon which you can start your farming.

Regarding Gov intervention, the answer is to Move to a pro-farm/permaculture area that will support your needs.
 
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