Agriculture and farming, for the average American, seems more of an archaic past-time than a means of making a living. Looking back 200 years, the majority of Americans engaged in some sort of agricultural work. Some citizens practiced subsistence farming, growing enough to feed their families. Others used it as a business, growing surplus crops to sell to other citizens or merchants.
Today, less than two percent of Americans work directly in the agriculture industry. This has come about as a result of many factors. First, farming methods have become much more advanced and efficient, allowing fewer farms to grow much more food. Also, most Americans don’t see farming as a viable way to make a living due to the massive start-up costs and the inherent risks. Much of the menial labor done around a farm is performed by illegal or unclassified immigrants who agree to work for far less pay than a citizen protected under the law would.
The influence that agriculture and farming had on American life has mostly disappeared. However, there are still a handful of farmers who take charge in their work and make advancements that can help the entire industry.
Farmers Helping Farmers
One of the newest and most important additions to a farmers arsenal of tools is beginning to gain popularity. Created by Dewayne Keiper, a farmer who has spent his entire life in the agriculture industry, the Farmers Business Network allows farmers to access massive amounts of comparative data for industry purposes. Farmers join the network with a one-time, $600 fee. In turn, they gain access to information that other farmers have shared regarding soil and seed types, input costs, fertilizer and chemical vendors, and other vital information. Those who join can also submit their own data for others to see, “adding to the pool of information the network gathers and analyzes to predict best practices, depending on seed and soil types,” according to the report from Argus Leader.
All of this information means that farmers have more context when it comes to planting and harvesting, as well as comparative pricing information pertaining to seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, and other supplies. This allows growers to find the best prices so that they can save money where possible. The Farmers Business Network is also unique in that its one-time payment is more cost-efficient for farmers when compared to acreage-based membership costs of other similar services. Farmers Business Network provides an additional venue for farmers, increasing competition between vendors and driving down the prices of farming supplies. The site also allows growers to customize their methods to stay ahead of the curve, rather than simply sticking to tradition or habit in regards to farming practices.
Changing the Face of Agriculture
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