There is a popular post on social media right now and the gist of the post's message is that farming is a great way to live but unfortunately there isn't enough money in it to make a living at it. One can almost hear the heaving sigh that inevitably accompanies such a statement. Every time I see this post I leave a sensitive and politically correct message so that everyone who reads it after me will know how I feel about the message. The gist of my politically correct and sensitive message can be summed up in one word.
I hate mealy mouthed excuses. Why not call it what it actually is by saying something along the lines of, "With my current mindset making a living farming is beyond what I'm capable of doing or thinking about at this point in my life." That's probably not bullshit. Neither is, " I make a good living doing what I'm doing and I'm not willing to change but at times there are things I miss or think I'd love about making a living farming."
If, like me, you really, really do want to make a living farming then the very first thing that needs to change is the message, verbalized or not, that's floating around in your head. I believe there is plenty of money to be made in agricultural activities and I believe it's my job to find some part of this huge industry that excites my passions AND that is potentially lucrative enough to make me a very, very good living. Somebody asked me recently whether or not I envisioned boarding horses and raising cattle for freezer beef for my living as a young man. The truth is that I envisioned neither but the greater truth is that I would farm millipedes just as happily as horses, cows or crops if it allowed me to live the sort of live I want to live AND make a reasonable living doing so. And if the market drops out of cows, horses and crops you probably shoudn't rule out Paradigm Farms millipedes!
It ought to be the job of every single agricultural college in this country to find and bring in local speakers who have started successful agricultural businesses from scratch and let them share with each and every student that making a living farming is viable and entirely possible. I promise this was NOT the message that got preached to us back when I was in school and dinosaurs roamed the earth. A big part of the problem is that the majority of my professors didn't believe it was possible to start from scratch and make a living farming so they actively discouraged us from doing so too. But I'd encourage everyone who reads this to think about what would happen if we encouraged our young people to try. That would be an agricultural revolution worth participating in!
If You Want it Done Right . . .
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