Family Farms are Alive, Well in South Dakota
The family farm is either dead or dying.
I've heard that a lot over the years. Now, i haven't lived on a farm in a lot of years, and I mean a lot of years. And while I'm not sure if our 80 acres of rented southwest Minnesota farmland could be called a stereotypical 'family farm', it sure did help support one family.
Big corporations are swallowing up the family farms in South Dakota. That's another one I've heard a bunch when I'm sitting down at my favorite watering hole swapping a few brews and lies with my friends. And truth be told, it does seem like the old adage 'the big get bigger' is true, at least in other parts of the economic and business world.
Anyway, i decided to check this out, this 'family farms are dying' thing. So I went to what I figured was a pretty good and reliable source.
I went to thisisfarming.org. I love the TV commercials the SD Corn folks put out, and it turns out they have a pretty darn good website, too.
I found a link on the site that had a pretty startling headline after listening to the boys back at the bar.
98% of South Dakota farms are family owned and operated.
Huh? Yep, that's what it said. And not only that, over 2,500 farms have been in the same family for more than....wait for it....wait for it...
over a hundred years!
Oh, they've grown some over the years, these family farms. Heck, when I was a young 'un (and cute as a bugs rear end my dad said), it seemed like most of my friends dad's farmed a quarter section, maybe a half. Now, in South Dakota, the average farm in South Dakota is about 1,374 acres. And it's changed just a tinge since my dad was growing up, too. It seems they don't hitch 'ol Bert up to the plow anymore.
But essentially, it's the same. The land, the dirt, it feeds not only the family that lives on it (and has for decades), it's feeds a whole lot of other families, too. And with great programs like the FFA and 4-H, there's a whole 'nother generation or two of young folks getting ready to take over the rein's....I mean, machinery.
So when you here over and over and over how farms have all gone 'corporate', well....don't get into a fight about it or anything. Just sip that cold one and think about the 31,800 farms right here in good 'ol South Dakota.
For a ton of information on farming in South Dakota check out sdcorn.org