Today I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Kevin Stafford speak - he is brilliant and hilarious. The perfect combination. If you want more of a background on him read this.
He said something today that was very clear and made absolute sense to me but a lot of people in the urban world, and some in the rural world for that matter, have a hard time understanding. So I thought I'd put his ideas on here and get some feedback.
His ideas on why farms have gotten bigger while the number of farms has decreased (this is world wide, not just in the U.S.) are:
- If farm gate prices are too low then...
- Farm size must increase to support the family producing the food therefore....
- Animal production intensifies because more animal units require more management, feed and efficiency which leads to....
- More animals per person OR Engage in niche farming/marketing (natural, organic, grass-finished, etc).
I think this makes perfect sense - Dr. Stafford said that the size of the family farm in terms of animal numbers has nearly tripled in New Zealand due to cheap food prices and low support to farmers. The same has happened here except in the U.S., some farmers get some subsidies (but they're not getting rich, just to be clear on that point).
So what do you think?
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~