But we offer caution that time and energy must be spent studying the best farming practises. Good farming is about practise and legacy and planning, And of course successful farming begins and carries forward with enthusiasm.
DAIRY — Local demands for the flavors and varieties which spring of a region’s weather, soils, and history are fueling small independent dairy operations specializing in artisan approaches to all dairy products. These new farms are above and beyond the large commercial dairies which cannot compete at this level. As independence is protected this spectrum of dairy product will continue to grow in market share and profitability.
MEAT — Beef supplies are low stateside and the general demand is high, this translates to quite high prices into the future. Paradoxically the spread between highest quality artisan-produced beef and the top end of commercial beef with continue to shrink. Expect Lamb, Pork, Poultry, Goat and exotic meats to grow in market share for at least five years, and to gain in valuation as well. Meat based proteins will become more and more of a luxury for those people of low incomes. This may point to market difficulties within the decade unless the political will is found to address the widening disparity between the haves and have nots. Rich people alone aren’t going to purchase enough meat to keep the industry profitable.
ANIMAL POWER — Currently in a momentary slump, expect to see a growing number of people actively pursuing alternative motive power sources on the farm and identifying with horses, mules and oxen in increasing numbers. The future is bright for the long range planning that has farms raising and training fresh work stock for sale.
FIELD CROPS — The wild fluctuations in weather will continue to make long term farm planning insecure. Commodity agriculture as centered on corn, soybeans and wheat is in for a very rough ride in the US over the next five to ten years. Expect that the vagaries of genetic engineering and chemical freak-shows will introduce bizarre new crop events and the chance of wholesale consumer boycotts the likes of which may well destroy entire sectors of agribusiness. And expect these same situations to increasingly entice agribusiness entities to move overseas, especially to India, Africa, and South America. These conditions bode exceedingly well for the small independent farmers who will be able to earn and keep the trust of local consumers – consumers hungry for good safe food especially as they offer a cornucopia of small grain, legume, and forage variety.
MARKET GARDEN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES — Already experiencing a renaissance and fueling the larger part of the local food movement, this sector will continue to grow and feed the profits of new farmers. Expect to see an increase in available varieties and artistic new approaches to serving the local food movements.
ROOT CROPS — Led by potatoes this segment of agricultural production is a sleeper destined to explode as more and more new farmers discover the astounding value of homegrown feeds as central to mixed crop and livestock operations.
SUGAR BUSH — If you are in the right region for maple syrup production you owe it to yourself to look into the phenomenal opportunities present in this colorful, flavorful and difficult farming treasure.
We’ve said it before, we say it again; There has never been a better time to become a farmer. The future for good farming is ripe, fertile, profitable and vibrant. LRM