12 May 2013 - Thank You for Your Comments

Last week on Samuelson Sez I asked a couple of questions: “How big is too big? How big is too big to be a family farm?” YOU responded! Yet, after reading what you had to say, there still is a lack of agreement on what is a a ‘family farm.’

Let me share with you some of the responses:

CALIFORNIA - “I must take exception with your comment about ‘family farms’. This is a term of art used to describe small farms where the family owners do most of the work. It doesn’t help the public image of large agribusinesses when you interpret ‘family farms, in a strictly literal sense. Do you think the family owners of Cargill, Bunge and Simplot are admired for their contribution to small rural communities?”

ILLINOIS - “You are dead right with your comments about family farms. We have several large operations in our area, grain and livestock. All are family farms that employ family members and non-family. These farms have all evolved from smaller operations to where they are today. We hear about sustainable ag. What is more sustainable than a family growing their farm and bringing family members into the operation and providing good jobs for so many young people in the community. There is room for everyone if they want to make it work.”

TEXAS - “To me, the size of a family farm doesn’t matter; it can be
1 acre or 1-million acres. The size is as varied as the people in this country. Hard work and long hours are required to build a farm of any significant size along with wise decisions and being able to seize opportunities that come along. Times change. People need to be properly informed about what is happening in our time.”

INDIANA - “There are two very different groups of family farms. The first is a group that supports local business and suppliers and also has an interest in the local economy, schools, 4-H and community activities. The other group is still a family farm, but very aggressive. This group usually covers a bigger area to rent ground, and shops for the best prices from anywhere; this group doesn’t support the local economy very much.”

And finally, the simplest one of all from KANSAS - “A family farm is when you live on the farm, you labor on the farm and you make 75% of your income on the farm”.

Thank you for sharing your definitions and I share them with you this week on . . .

Samuelson Sez.