There was a recent article on The Federalist website responding to an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) about how American Agriculture is headed toward a bust. The main cause for this bust would be the U.S. share of the world grain market is shrinking and the price of corn continues to drop. Of course, what that statement points out is the vulnerability of a commodity subsidy policy that focuses on a few key crops that have less to do with providing true federal food security than it does supporting large agribusiness. The article also mentions how these subsidies have resulted in the fewest number of farmers per capita that the U.S. has ever had before–another striking vulnerability.
But what has even commodity grain farmers sitting up and taking notice is the statistic quoted in the WSJ that: “The U.S. share of the global grain market is less than half what it was in the 1970s. American farmers’ incomes will drop 9% in 2017, the Agriculture Department estimates, extending the steepest slide since the Great Depression into a fourth year.”
So is this the time that conventional farmers will move from the industrial agriculture model with all its inherent risks? In the article, Holistic Management practitioner, Joel Salatin, is quoted as saying that the regenerative economy is beckoning but agriculture is slow to change. He also notes that his father was told to go industrial and he ignored that advice and the family has prospered.
At HMI we teach farmers and ranchers a value-based decision-making process that helps them make critical on-farm/on-ranch decisions with financial, production, business, and strategic planning that supports their efforts in regenerative agriculture.
Ultimately a farm or ranch that works to partner with nature and regenerates all its resources will be able to survive the challenges of changing markets, weather, and the multitude of challenges that agriculturalists around the world face. Having small diversified farms/ranches that sell into local food markets offer a greater potential for food security and a truly regenerative agriculture. As this article points outs: “Since 2006, local food marketing channels have seen substantial growth: Farmers’ markets have grown by 180%, reaching 8,200 nationwide. 7.8% of farms in the U.S. are marketing locally, and local food sales have reached $6.1 billion.”
Another Holistic Management practitioner, Forrest Pritchard, notes his concern about the rising age of farmers and ranchers and how there isn’t more focus on training new farmers and ranchers for a regeneration of the U.S. agriculture system.
HMI is proud to be involved in training these new farmers and ranchers or the experienced farmers and ranchers who are interested in learning regenerative agriculture. We have many that come to us requesting scholarships and we provide more than $15,000 of scholarships a year because of the generous support of our donors. Help us help farmers and ranchers make this transition. Visit our Scholarship page and learn more about what your gift can do.