Every 5 years the United States Department of Agriculture sends all the farmers a survey called the Agricultural Census. And every five years once all the results are tallied and without fail, an alarm bell goes off. The national average age in farming keeps climbing up and the trend is ever upward. Farmers around the world are getting old.
Where have all the young farmers gone? Why the youngsters are leaving the family farms and showing no interest in what’s supposed to be the oldest and the ‘noblest’ profession?This is because small scale agriculture is being deliberately stifled. Pro-corporate policies are making farming non-viable and farmers are left with no other choice but to quit. Farmers are a dying breed and family farming will become history soon.
Writing in the Newsweek magazine (April 10, 2014), Max Kutner says:”For decades, farmers across the country have been dying by suicide at higher rates than the general population. The exact numbers are hard to determine, mainly because suicide by farmers are under-reported (they may get mislabeled as hunting or tractor accidents, advocates for prevention say) and because the exact definition of a farmer is elusive.”
A society disconnected from its food source can never know peace, prosperity and good health. Aldo Leopold warns, “There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”