What the average American knows about actual modern farming is often embarrassing. For instance, my uncle works and owns a live, no B.S. farm in Iowa, and the extent of my land-working knowledge still tends to end in e-i-e-i-o. To get a little less ignorant, I check out Real American Farmer and other media like it on the dtnprogressivefarmer.com site.
Agriculture just doesn’t come up in everyday conversation in many parts of the country. Even in rural-ass Texas where I grew up we learned what we thought were completely useless skills, like how to properly wash a goat and how to cut a steer’s hair so it hides its flaws for show, and even this is more mainstream than farming.
The Ag 101 page at epa.gov says of the U.S. population, “…less than 1% claim farming as an occupation.” To put that into perspective, total up the number of millionaires in New York City and LA and you will have about the same number of folks who claim “Farmer” as their job title in this country — roughly 960,000 people. That’s it. Those precious few are responsible, in large part, for producing enough food for close to 300 million.
So agricultural topics and techniques on the site like combating Goss’s Wilt (a corn disease) or turning soil with vertical tillage (a technique that helps break up surface soil compaction and improves rainfall penetration) are almost direct links to the reason the corn products at the local grocers are cheap and plentiful.
Less than one million people: That number represents a myriad of interesting facets like the mechanization and consolidation of the American farm and the lives of the people who work them. It’s not for everyone, obviously, but Progressive Farmer is an easy place to start checking out the latest trends in agriculture practices and science.
Also, they feature oversized harvesters and combines, which honestly is what drew me to the site to begin with; I’m a sucker for heavy equipment.
Real American Farmer [DTN/The Progressive Farmer]
The Progressive Farmer [Website]
Ag 101 [EPA.gov]
Record Americans live on food stamps amid record number of millionaires [news.xinhuanet]