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Honored Advisor

Average age of farmer is 58, I`m still young..Yay!

Today on WHO BigShow they talked about farmer`s average age cept up one more year to 58 years old.  And of course the concerns about "old farmers" they`ve worried about old farmers for as long as I can remember.   But like a lake that averages knee deep, that doesn`t mean in places it can`t be over your head   Smiley Happy

Farming is capital intensive and old people are rich...duh!  But the census calculates farmers and what is a "farmer" these days?  A 25 yr old farmers market farmer might gross $10,000 all in cash and doesn`t report it as income to be taxed.  There`s maybe 80yr olds that might hire their ground strip-tilled, hire the coop to spray and hire a neighbor to harvest and haul to town.  All they do is plant and market the grain.  But if they finally retire a 40yr old that farms 10,000 acres will easily absorb the 80yr old`s 400 acres without batting a eye.

Then you have a 45yr old son farming with a 75yr old dad, their average age is 60, but if something happened to dad, the 45yr old son and a couple hired men would keep going.  

It would be interesting to see a acreage breakdown of the ages of those that farm them. The median farm age has perhaps been relatively the same since corn was husked by hand. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Average age of farmer is 58, I`m still young..Yay!

I always think that when i see farmer data...

I think "put it in context" that means something.  Don't the writers who grab this data ever get curious to learn something.

 

Second thought ---- probably not until young writers stop working for "baby boomers"  Then they will maybe get freedom to think.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Average age of farmer is 58, I`m still young..Yay!

SW, I can think of 2 cases where guys worked in a factory for 40yrs and were sort of forced to retire at 62 because they were making "too high of wages" .  Well they started farming, which kind of works out pretty good, they inherited money from folks passing away, had a nest egg built up.  Over the years they helped farmers on weekends and after work, so they had skills built up.  Nothing wrong with them working into their 80`s on the farm.

Friends of mine and I did it opposite, we started farming fulltime, now have to work off the farm to keep it going   Smiley Happy   If someone paid their dues in a factory for 40yrs...I`m not going to be the one telling them to quit farming and make room for younger farmers...everyone has a story.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Average age of farmer is 58, I`m still young..Yay!

well told and written Smiley Happy      great point......   Gas and oil industries did the same.  Enron found a way to steal the retirements also.  Hurt my home town greatly.

Greater than the climate change scam in killing agriculture is the dependance of farming on international corporations for nearly all the input costs of corn and beans.  The biggest change in my lifetime is the change in economy structure from dependence on small business nationally to the whole economy based on international corporations today.

All facilitated by congressional choices 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Average age of farmer is 58, I`m still young..Yay!

Being a hog farmer for 40yrs now (not a pork producer) I`ve seen and lived through the changes and challenges, so from that perspective.  When I started you could draw a 15 mile radius circle and have 4 choices of where to sell hogs...you could roll out of bed and on a whim on a weekday morning, if you had hogs at least 220, 230lbs you could get rid of them and have a check in your hand to pay bills within 1 hour of rolling out of bed.  Boy now it`s a different story,  2% of hogs are sold on the open market, if you don`t have them contracted, you essentially don`t have a market.  When they`re contracted they`re sold "raid & steal" so you`ll get your check in 4 or 5 days.  Or you could drive 60 miles away to a salebarn and sell hogs once a week and be at the mercy of the one hog buyer (auctioneer) being able to find a buyer that he could get rid of them.  And oh yeah you have to be PQA certified to sell them.

But all of farming is headed in that direction.  So far, there`s good access to selling grain, but the place you take grain could be under new ownership within a year.   Could see farms getting so big that they buy the local elevator for their own grain and perhaps do a "community service" by buying mid size farmer`s grain.   The changes in the hog industry came about relatively rapidly and it could easily go similar in other farm ventures.   

The "8¢ hogs" of `94 and 98 had the smart hog farmers throw in the towel right then and there, it was like peeing on the electric fence and the packers saying "you sure you want to stick around for more of this???" .   If all of a sudden ag lenders pull capital from farming that will be the 8¢ hog moment for grain too and all these "age of farmers" stories won`t be written anymore. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Average age of farmer is 58, I`m still young..Yay!

This was so close to home BA      

It is a long term process we have gone through, to destroy free enterprise.....   

We talk about diversification and selling direct, bypassing the middle man, or even farmer to market selling, etc........ yet the laws in place today, sponsored(not written ) by the politicians who pander to the "poor citizen" block the ability to accomplish change on an individual basis.  Personal freedom to improve or develop a business in new ideas is nearly impossible for an individual who cannot make major donations to political parties.  Yet is available to an international corporation with money to contribute and the staff to write  or influence the same laws they live by.  The same laws that limit small business and individuals.    (the seed industry is the most obvious did we have a congressman in place who understood what was happening when those monopolies were "granted"?)

It may not be the socialist philosophy so prevelant on campuses I attended, It may just be the result of a society with too much borrowing power and percieved wealth.  Hating free enterprise and the right of individuals to exceed the social standard established by bureaucracy,.....or the fact that democracy takes work and humans are inherantly lazy if enough cash is in the system.   I don't know why or who to blame--- but the agriculture we think we live in is far different than the reality around us.   The legal dams we have built to control the flow of commerce the last few decades make it nearly impossible to swim upstream.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Average age of farmer is 58, I`m still young..Yay!

Hey SW, how do we seperate free enterprise being destroyed and natural human progress?  The cliches about the "buggy whip factories", but there`s industries destined for the buggy whip basket with the passing of each year.  Technology makes somethings obsolete, hopefully creating more opportunities to replace to lost.

Years ago I talked to a older lady that  bought her husband a manure spreader with her "egg money" when they started farming.  Seems that he would pitch the barn out onto a hayrack and pitch it off into the field, everyday as they milked cows.  The housewife with her "egg money" and the husband milking 12 cows, the few sows and cows, probably went to the "buggy whip basket" though there`s Amish and small (farmers market) farms still out there.  

There was a transition from the 12 head cow dairyman and his egg money wife from about 1960 to 1980.  Through the 70`s it was still possible to on paper starting with nothing , get a FHA loan, buy a acreage farrow/finish 80 sows and rent 400 acres and 4430 and a 4400 combine and 6 row machinery.  I doodled in my notebook "farming" that way on paper through history and English Lit classes in the early 80`s.  Smiley Happy    But it was a different dream, I wasn`t milking 12 cows and my wife in that dream (Bo Derek) wasn`t taking care of chickens  Smiley Happy

Today 80 sows 400 rented acres and a 4400 combine...Uff-dah!  Not even FHA would go along with that. 

Today, if it`s still possible to have a notebook doodle farm daydream it`d be taking care of 3  5,000hd hog sites and doing custom fieldwork.   I guess, I didn`t want the old, milking 12 cows dream and today`s young people wouldn`t want my farrow finish 80 sow dream.

Technology and specialization have changed dreams and what is economically possible.

At the risk of being a luddite, I do understand how socialism attracts some young people, they don`t have dreams that many of us had.  If you are a average or below kid, you feel you are stuck in a sub $15/hr job, if they are realistic, their only dream is a winning lottery ticket.  Some break out of the rut like the lady that invented Spanx, but most go to the ballot box and vote for those that promise the most.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Average age of farmer is 58, I`m still young..Yay!

I guess the Bo Derek dream went the same place as the 80 sows and 400 acres being a viable farm dream??  Ouch

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Honored Advisor

Re: Average age of farmer is 58, I`m still young..Yay!

You have a point Clayton, the joke when I was a kid was "What goes 10, 9 8, 7, 6... ?"   punchline is "Bo Derek getting old".   But "I wanna be a farmer!" means something different in each generation.    In 1976 we all went to Star Wars and saw young Luke Skywalker a "farmboy" from a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away.  We can`t define what farming will be in another generation,  perhaps it will be 80yr olds aerial seeding crops with a speeder.  

And capitalism won`t mean a sole proprietorship of a farm or brick & mortar business, but rather ownership of shares in a corporation.  And being a farmer might mean specializing in planting or harvesting moving with the seasons from northern hemisphere to southern hemisphere. 

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Senior Advisor

Re: Average age of farmer is 58, I`m still young..Yay!

Several  Smith's  were  in  the  field,  untill  lately ,  then the  new  Smithfeel'D   is  a  whole  nuther  TOP-ick,  with  '''  stock  options  ''''   being  the  clever  lever  -  -  -

Having  the  EX-perts ,  selling  the  idea,  waLA ,  and  seeing  how  cheap  ham  ($ 4.oo / lb. )  is  today ,  brilliance  on  display  of , volume  =  cheap  -   -   -

Landing  strips,  next  to  18 holes  &  club  house,  being  the  latest  conservative  style  -  -  -

Any  numbers (USDA data) on  the  average  age  of  golf  players , and,  or,   the  carts  running  on  E-85  -  ????          

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