Monday, December 04, 2006

Who Wants to be a Farmer?

This story contains what may be an encouraging tale to some: Suburban youth interested in production agriculture. Of course, the story goes on to mention the familiar tale of an aspiring youth (and his father) who meets steep capital demands. But I was struck mainly by the following quote: "Demographers will say the current generation as a whole tends to be more of a generation that says 'I want time to do the things I want to do. . . . I don't want to work all the time.'" If this is true, and if the drop in the number of young farmers is due at least in part to a lack of interest in the work and long hours, then one could posit that historically strong numbers of farmers relied on a citizenry that was hungry for work, locked into a pursuit from which there was no escape, uniformed about their options, or some combination of those characteristics.

This seems a far cry from the agrarian ideal. Overstatement aside (mine or the quoted passage's), I think this raises an interesting question of what makes farming a worthwhile pursuit? If not the prospect of vacation and riches, what? And it raises deeper questions about whether the agrarian ideal was a means of dealing with the harsh realities of a fairly solitary form of toil.


Post a Comment

<< Home