June 14, 2013

THEY'RE GLORIFIED AMUSEMENT PARKS:

Farmers Don't Make Money From Farming (Ryan O'Hanlon, 6/13/13, Pacific Standard)

It probably would not surprise you to hear that most profitable American farms are large industrialized operations. That's just how things work now. But it might surprise you to find out that an overwhelming majority of farmers--based on the definition of the word--are not part of those big-industry outfits. Most American farms are tiny. And nearly all tiny American farms lose money.

From the latest USDA report:

Despite high prices for many crops, 2012 was no exception, with median farm income projected to be -$2,799. Most farm households earn all of their income from off-farm sources--median off-farm income is projected to increase by 3.4 percent in 2012, to $55,229 and by 3.9 percent in 2013, to $57,378. [...]

The more-interesting part of this and what appears to be a big part of the side hustle for many farms is "agrotourism" and things like "on-farm cafes, restaurants, and dining rooms for special farm dinners ... classes, tours, U-picks, and venues for weddings and family reunions." As in: farmers are making money by having people watch them do the thing that no longer makes them any money. 

Posted by at June 14, 2013 7:48 PM
  

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