Conventional agriculture has pushed to mechanize the production of as many crops as possible with the least human labor.
Rural communities, once a patchwork of farms, schools, and local businesses, have been decimated by large-scale industrial agriculture that requires farmers to grow huge swaths of crops, often for export, on more and more land in order to break even.
A Laudable Aim—But It Comes at a Cost
Since 2013, net farm income for American farmers has fallen by 50%. Commodity prices for conventional crops are frequently below the cost of production, making it impossible for farmers to improve their situations. “Get big or get out” is the mantra and the only way to survive. Farms consolidate. Families are displaced. Young people, seeing no future in farming, migrate to cities.
The Future is Organic
Nearly one-third of farmers are past retirement age, and 93 million acres of farmland are poised to change hands in the next five years. Organic product sales have climbed by over 70% since 2008, yet only 1% of domestic arable acreage is currently certified organic—demand clearly outpaces supply. For those reasons and more, organic products consistently yield higher profits than conventional.
Our future farmers need resources and expertise to meet the challenge and the opportunity. Click here to find out how we’re training the next generation in organic, regenerative production methods that improve the health of people and planet, boost the economy, and develop rural communities.
Solving a Crisis
The fact that farmers, the people we rely on for our most basic needs, are driven to suicide in record numbers should be a loud and urgent signal that our food system is in desperate need of repair. If you or someone you know needs help, please don’t wait—struggling with mental health or financial crisis isn’t a failure, and there are resources to help.