The Census of Agriculture provides a little snapshot of U.S. farming. For example, when the last census was done in 2007, the average farm was 418 acres and worth $791,000; and the average farmer was 57 years old and a majority also worked off the farm. The U.S. Department of Agriculture updates that information every 5 years and is getting ready to send out new surveys in a few weeks. One trend to watch for is the growing number of small farms -- but they’re easy to miss and some would rather not be counted.
With the holiday season upon us, a tradition for many families is a road trip to choose and harvest a Christmas tree. Wondering how trees in the Midwest are holding up to the drought? Turns out supplies should be fine this year but could be scarce in years to come.
The United States is the world’s leading producer and exporter of corn, supporting the increasing demand for meat in China, India and other countries with growing middle classes. Those countries import livestock feed made from Midwestern grain. But feeding the world takes more than shipping protein overseas.
With drought devestating the corn harvest, U.S. grain exporters are having a tough year. While the U.S. remains the world’s biggest supplier of corn, American farmers are projected to lose a portion of the global corn market this year.
Debate surrounding what we eat and how it’s made is nothing new. But in this year of outcry over pink slime, criticism regarding gestation crates, and questions about the value of organic food, the various sides are reaching out in new ways and new places, and sometimes to each other. But middle ground is still proving hard to find.
The Dust Bowl of the 1930s left an indelible mark on the Midwest and on history. It is the drought against which all others are measured. And it was a man-made disaster that still offers lessons today.