I read a story a couple of weeks ago about the owner of an old farm. This farm had been in the family for generations, but the house was in need of major repair, the taxes on the property kept going up, and that present owner didn't even live nearby; thus, causing a need for a local manager.
Finally, the owner contacted a realtor about selling the land. The realtor was a true professional, and set about getting a lot of good photos, some taken overhead by a drone, and listing all the desirable things about this place. He then put it on his website, and told the fellow to check it out.
He had an almost immediate reply; you can't sell this place! I've been looking for one like this my whole life.
I smiled when I read that, and glanced at an aerial view of Apex farm that hangs on the office wall. It was presented to us by the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District, in note of the conservation practices Mike had practiced for a number of years. It's an aerial view and covers several acres, all laid out in contours on those hills, with lots of trees and a couple dams. Anyone would be impressed.
What you don't see when it's so elevated, is the manure, the flies, the mosquitoes, the mice, and so on. It's so picturesque like that; no mud, no snow drifts, and definitely no extreme temperatures.
There were lots of days on the farm (usually in the spring) when the sky was blue, the grass was green, the birds were singing, and “all was right with the world”. Most of the time, there were enough of those to make up for the days “of the other kind.” However! Sometimes, I could not recall those days as quickly as I should have!
A bunch of Tabitha retirees get together for brunch once a month and we were reminiscing about those days last week. Almost all of us could remember when dogs and cats belonged outdoors! Several of us laughed about milking cows by hand and squirting the cats with their morning drink. One does not eat eggs to this day because she hated gathering them so much!
Recently, I read an article about the price of farmland in Nebraska. There was a photo of a farmer in the cab of his combine. There were THREE monitors! I don't even know what they would all be for.
But I can tell you two things about them; they make farming more comfortable, and more precise.
AND they make farming more expensive. So, the cost of that equipment, on top of the cost of the land, make for some pretty pricey living. I'm guessing even a wife working off the farm would not be able to keep up. But, if nothing else, she is, hopefully, providing the health insurance for the family.
It's still a great place to raise kids. The farms are the reason for the “Midwest work ethic” we still hear about. It's a good way of living to be nostalgic about. There is a reason local high schools that have never had FFA have it now; and that local colleges that were all pre-professional now have Ag departments. There are many Ag related jobs. It continues to be a challenge for beginning farmers.
Today's farms are feeding 155 people; when I married the Big Farmer, that number was 16. Farmers are producing this with less land, less energy, less water, and fewer emissions.
Something you can do to learn about today's farmer is check out The Millennial Farmer and his blog.
I think you will enjoy this guy and his family in Minnesota. He speaks for a lot of us!