Farming is often seen as a labor intensive way of earning very little money. Overheads are high, crop prices are low, and if you are planning on selling your pigs at market, you will make minimal profit on each animal. It’s no wonder that the farming community have high rates of mental health problems and suicide. Those that do enter the profession tend to have farming in the DNA, as the industry has employed their parents, and their parents’ parents. Most other people who enter the profession do so because of an idyllic notion of being self sufficient, earning money selling sustainable organic produce.
The idea of selling food and crops and livestock should be a burgeoning profession. The population of the world is growing and there are more mouths to feed. So, why does farming still get a bad reputation for low rates of pay and back breaking work?
Many farmers work on there own from five in the morning until eight in the evening. There is always something to do on the farm from milking the cows, clearing out the stables, ploughing a field or irrigating the land. The upkeep of such a wide expanse of land, couple with the long working hours can lead to feelings of isolation. This can cause depression and anxiety. Working alone may sound perfect for those people who enjoy their own company, but when this is forced upon you, and you don’t have time to socialize with friends because a sheep is unwell, the idyll can be shattered dramatically.
Most farmers are forever on the cusp of descending into debt. Every season is stress laden as you try to navigate treacherous weather, infestations and crop management. With better agricultural equipment jobs can be done faster and produce can be harvested more efficiently. However, this doesn’t negate the need for sound money management. If you are making pennies on every pint of milk that you produce, the effort can seem pointless.
Many farmers struggle to break free from the industry as it is all that they know. The thought of doing something else can be terrifying, so many choose to stay within farming and live to work, rather than work to live. Many have sold off their land to property investors, but then regret their decision when they realise that they have few skills to impart in other jobs.
If you are still keen to break into the farming industry, you will be aware of just how challenging this can be. With little or no support from government and the need to rely on yourself to earn your living, the challenges are clear. However, every day is different, you will be self sufficient, and you will be providing exceptional produce for your local community.
Farming is not just a job, it is a vocation and a way of life. Think carefully before choosing this path, otherwise you could find yourself becoming one of the farming statistics that nobody likes to read about.