This NYT op-ed "Don't Let Your Children Grow Up To Be Farmers" is getting a lot of buzz among our ranchers today - I'm a big supporter of (and even Kickstarted!) Bren Smith's work at Thimble Island Oyster Co., and he covers really important topics about how hard it is to be a farmer-for-a-living.
But I think the headline should be "How To Transform The Farming Industry So Our Children Want To Grow Up To Be Farmers." And that starts with all the things in this article's last paragraph. Make agriculture an attractive field to study. Shift subsidies to family farms and create financial instruments to support land ownership. Help organic and grassfed ranchers making higher profit margins than others. The Good Food Movement needs to include farmers making a good living in its platform.
One of the amazing things we heard at Grassfed Exchange last month is that some of the young farmers practicing farmstacking - layering multiple enterprises rotating on the same land e.g. cattle, meat chickens, pasture eggs, pork, sheep, are making not just double, but multiples of net profit/acre compared to conventional crops. But a lot of farmers aren't. Those are the practices and stories - on how to make a good living as a full-time farmer - that need to be reported on and broadcasted as part of the change.