The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 6, 2012

Who will feed US?


If farming is beginning to sound like an appealing career, there are downsides, to be sure.

The work involves tough physical labor, and vacations create problems when there are crops to be harvested and cows to be milked.

Many farmers need second jobs to get health insurance or make ends meet.

And three-fifths of farms have sales of less than $10,000 a year, although some may be growing fruit trees or other crops that take a few years to develop.

Certainly, there are many reasons why young people decide not to pursue careers in farming, even if they were born and raised on a farm, O'Neill conceded. "Many don't want to deal with low profit margins, excessive regulations and long hours with physically demanding work. Farm children know how their parents have struggled over the years to remain economically viable. They also recognize how costly regulations limit or prohibit their ability to expand or change operations in order to become more profitable."

Land costs hurt

Meanwhile, the cost to rent land or purchase a farm, even from a family member, can be staggering for a young adult. Even if parents are offering a major family discount or are willing to work with children on terms of a future sale, the farm transition process is often not an easy one.

"The younger generation wants assurances that they will be able to take advantage of new advancements in research and technology in order to meet the public's demand for agriculture items," O'Neill said. "They are not looking for guarantees that they'll be profitable, but they want to make sure that policies and regulators are not created that will make it impossible for them to make a living."

A big obstacle for the future of farming occurs when children of farmers graduate from college and want to return to work on the home farm, but unless the operation expands, how will the farm generate enough income to support an additional family or families.

Text Only
  • Amazon worker pilots drone around Space Needle

    Police say an out-of-town Amazon employee was the operator behind a drone that buzzed the Seattle Space Needle this week.

    July 25, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carjacked vehicle strikes crowd, killing 2 kids

    Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her car at gunpoint and drove it into a group of people on a corner in Philadelphia on Friday, killing two children and critically injuring three other people, police said.

    July 25, 2014

  • Man calls police chief "brain dead"

    A Liberty Township man was cited for placing a sign calling Mahoning Township’s police chief “brain dead and hell bound.”

    July 25, 2014

  • New warden returning to Lewisburg penitentiary

    David J. Ebbert has been tapped to replace Jeff Thomas as warden at United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg.

    July 25, 2014

  • Fast food workers to escalate wage demands

    Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

    July 25, 2014

  • 1plane18.jpg Air travel a leap of faith for passengers

    Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Honduran president: U.S. has enormous responsibility for crisis

    The historic influx of illegal immigrants from Central America is caused primarily by the high demand for illicit drugs in the United States, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Today's Editorial: Child's sensibilities shield bad parents

    Periodically, a decree goes forth from the county seat announcing a special on child support, generally in the form of reducing charges and fines for all those able and willing to make good on some payments now past due.

    July 25, 2014

  • Budd fundraising run to pass Geisinger

    MILTON — It’s “kickstands up” tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. from LT’s Tavern on Route 405 in Milton where hundreds of motorcycles will take off on a run to raise funds for the Budds, the Ohio family whose matriarch, Sharon, recovers at Geisinger Medical Center from grave injuries suffered in a rock-throwing incident two weeks ago.

    July 25, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.