The Farming Industry: Challenges and Opportunities

Tractor spraying pesticides on vegetable field with sprayer at spring
In the US, farming was once considered a big occupation. Statistics show that, in 2012, not more than 1% of the American population were professional farmers. In fact, farmers of today face many challenges that the general public is oblivious to.

Most of the general public have an obsolete view when one thinks of a farm. They consider it to be a small parcel of land owned and run by family members; a piece of land where cattle is raised and crops are harvested. In reality, present-day farms are required to overhaul their operations in order to cater to the demands and stay competitively priced while adjusting to new technology. 

The Top 3 Challenges Face by the Farming Industry 

1. Technology

Rural farming communities of today are expected to consider integrating modern technology into their farming industry.

As  easy as it may sound, it is not. To make such a shift in rural areas is quite a challenge. The communications systems are not as up-to-date compared to urban areas. All of these factors combined make it difficult for the farming industry to make the switch and become accustomed to ever-changing technological trends. 

Technology is also an opportunity in the farming industry. Research shows that the farmers who made the shift and involved modern technology into their business noticed an increase in their production process. It also had a substantial effect on labor supply.

2. Decline in Farming as a Profession

Very few Americans claim the farming industry as their major occupation. In our country, most farmers are now above 55 years of age. Most young adults don’t consider the farming industry as one of their aspired professions. 

3. Environmental Apprehensions

Many farmers are held responsible for how the farming business affects the environment. These days, the emphasis is placed on conservation and sustainability. It has resulted in public protests on some farmer’s certain practices. These practices refer to the pollution of water, raising livestock, use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, etc. 

On the other hand, many farmers have changed their methods and practices to be more self-sustainable and environmentally friendly in the process.

This is not the only environmental issue that farmers face in their industry. Climate and weather changes are also ecological issues that farmers must deal with. Severe droughts and strong storms have made the farming industry even more demanding and difficult.

Opportunities in the Farming Industry

In spite of all of the challenges, there are still opportunities in the farming industry. The NSAC (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition) works hard to provide farming opportunities to all of the independent family farmers of America. New federal programs and policies are coming out to support the young adults in the farming industry.

Every few years or so, Congress reauthorizes the state farm bill in which legislative decisions pertaining to funding and policies provide opportunities for women, beginning, veteran and minority farmers. The funding and monetary aspect are also considered by the government as a way to support the young adults entering into the farming business. They will also be there to support and fund any farmers involved in the yearly appropriations process, along with delivering guide program applications.

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