How Much Do Farmers Make From Growing Food?
The question of how much do farmers make has been at the forefront of public discussion since the agricultural sector started to slow down after experiencing a period of bumper harvests in the mid-1990s. In this article we will take a look at how much did farmers actually earn in that five year period. Although the recession has forced many farmers to downsize their operations, some have chosen to remain in business and increase farming yields using modern techniques and fertilizers. Some have also decided to downsize from commercial crops to organic or sustainable varieties. In any event, many agricultural professionals feel that the industry is poised to once again see robust growth in the coming years.
The amount that an average farmer makes has changed dramatically over time. Just fifty years ago an acre of farmland could easily support an entire family. This means that an agricultural technician or scientist could easily command six figures without spending much time on the job. However, since then the market for agricultural produce has collapsed. Nowadays a farmer needs to be more efficient with his machinery and use advanced planting techniques.
Farming is probably one of the oldest industries in history, dating all the way back to the time of the ancient Romans. With the arrival of new crops such as the hybrid alfalfa following World War II farmers had to switch their methods to grow foods with lower yield but greater durability. New equipment was invented to help modern farmers increase their productivity and thus keep prices down for consumers.
So how much do farmers make from selling livestock, or more specifically beef, pigs and chickens? At present, raising animals as a business can be very profitable. The cost of ranching depends largely on how large the farm is and how many animals are being kept. If the farm has only two employees it is considered small and therefore it will have a lower cost per animal. Large scale operations may employ hundreds or even thousands of workers. On a yearly basis, an operation as large as a United States farm may generate over $40 billion.
Raising crops is a very specialized job that requires precise knowledge of plants, fertilizers and breeders. New technologies and scientific processes are constantly being improved. As a result farmers must learn about these constantly changing processes in order to keep abreast of the industry. Farming is also dependent on irrigation, fertilization and pest control. In order to have high-quality beef, pigs or chicken the farmers will have to be very knowledgeable about how these processes work.
Growing peanuts has become an exciting prospect for those farmers who like to experiment. For those who know how to grow peanuts the opportunities are limitless; peanuts are resistant to a number of pests and require only the smallest space. Although peanuts are a seasonal crop they can still provide a substantial income. In the next decade new products like peanuts may become very popular.
Raising livestock, such as cattle, horses, chicken and sheep, is also a specialized job and farmers will need to know a lot about how their animals are going to behave in different environments. Livestock can be classified as dairy cattle, meat-producing poultry and eggs. Dairy cows produce milk, while meat-producing poultry produces eggs. To care for their livestock, a farmer needs to be knowledgeable about the health care aspects of raising animals. Horse and dog breeding is another specialized area that will take care of many types of animals; from dairy to exotic mammals.
If a farmer specializes in growing a specific type of crop then he will make much more money. In the past most crops were hard-tissue such as wheat, cotton and corn. With the advent of new technology and crops being more resistant to pests and diseases farmers can grow crops that are less desirable such as soybeans. The future of farmers will show a strong dependence on biotechnology.