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At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

MFAI Director’s Blog – July 2011

“A Few More Years to Go”………

Back when I was farming, not that many years ago, I heard the phrase “I have a few more years to go” usually uttered by a farmer well past 65 or 70 years of age.  I think there is a lot of fear on the part of older farmers without an heir apparent.  Fear about what will happen to the land they farm.  Fear about will they be able to afford adequate health care and retirement off the farm without selling the farm.  And fear about what they would do if they retired from farming.  Also, I think there are a lot of farmers who are getting on in years who are tired of the chemicals, the high priced seed corn, and the constant scramble to get things done….when the aches and pains of getting older crop up (no pun intended). 

The first issue is almost as hard to address as the second.  How do you get off the merry-go-round and if you do, how do you find someone who will take over the farm.  There is always the guy down the road who is farming 2000 acres and would like to farm more.  However, he doesn’t need the extra land and he doesn’t always have the time to do things the right way with waterways and buffer strips. 

Michael Fields believes we need to address the human capital problem in our food system.  At the same time, we would like to think we can offer alternatives to young people who want to grow more than just corn and soybeans or want to have a small grass based beef cow herd.  It would also be nice to farm or begin farming without working most of the time to pay the banker or make Monsanto a little richer.  Give us a call, talk to one of our staff, and let us know what you are thinking and what questions you have.  We would like to hear from you so we at MFAI know we are working on the things that can help provide alternatives and, perhaps, answers to your questions.