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FOR OPENERS
KEEPING THEM ON THE FARM?
At the recently held World Agricultural Forum's biennial Congress, Ministers of ag from around the world and several Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) presented their thoughts and ideas on how to keep farmers "on the farm."

In many of the countries, up to 70% of their population live in rural areas, scratching out a living on subsistence farms. The fear of many of these countries is that unemployed farmers will inundate their cities, taxing its infrastructure and unemployment will soar.

While listening to them, I reflected on how North America made the transition from an agrarian, to an industrial, to the current service-based economy and the "toll" it took on those people that were displaced by the change.

Looking back to when I was raised in Iowa and the average commercial-sized farming operation was 300 acres, the kids from farms seemed to be the most disadvantaged. Their parents struggled to break-even because of the small size, and resulting small income from their farms.

As farm sizes grew, incomes grew, allowing today's farm kids to have the same advantages, and even surpass their "city cousins."

And the families that were displaced by the larger farming operations? The parents found jobs and careers with more reliable incomes, providing a better future for the succeeding generations. My estimate is that at least 80% of agri-marketers have a farming background. They are making a much better living than if they were still farming 300 acres like "the good old days."

Perhaps the world's leaders should take a look at the North American ag sector and its successful transition, before implementing regulations to keep small farmers, small farmers.

NEXT MONTH
An in-depth look at a leading animal health company - Boehringer Ingelheim.


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