We had a farm in South Dakota. I grew up working cattle, irrigating corn, stacking hay, driving tractors and riding horses. But the high interest rates of the last recession of the late 70's and early 80's put the farm into a financial vise-grip and finally squeezed it out of business.
So I get excited when I hear that something good is happening to farming in America–especially considering biblical prophecy!
It's also a positive trend compared to many societal trends that are either immoral, self-serving or spiritually subversive!
The new agricultural phenomena is young farmers—and new farms.
Young farmers are vital to a nations food production system—especially in the United States where the USDA reports the average age of farmers is nearly 60.
The new trend for farming is among those in their twenties and thirties. It's not large enough to affect USDA statistics yet but no doubt will be soon. Farms in America peaked at 6.8 million—in 1935 then went into long decline.
There are more new farmers because the farms tend to be very small, around 6 acres compared to the 449 acre average of current agri-businesses.
America's "cow colleges"—universities that were originally organized to teach agriculture are finding a resurgence of interest among students.
Rather than a rejection of society's urban rat-race, the new young farmers (men and women) are simply embracing the soil and growing crops and livestock. It's become a deliberate career choice—even if it isn't a high income one.
Quoted in a recent USA Today article, food editor at Grist.org Tom Philpott describes the new young farmers this way, "There's very little to do for educated college graduates besides sit in a cubical and punch (a) computer all day," he says. "Small-scale farming is management-intensive. It's an incredibly intellectual exercise, but you're also getting your hands in the dirt—that's why it's so attractive. There's a hunger for that."
The new small farm is a healthy trend. The fruit trees planted today by young farmers will mature enough to yield bushels of delicious apples, cherries and pears—given enough time and if the world doesn't end!
However, that latter gives us cause for concern. Other more negative societal trends and biblical prophecies indicate a coming end to our age.
Jesus spoke of the end of the world as we know it in the language of small scale farming. "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near." (Matthew:24:32)
Summer meant the end of this age, but after the trouble is over and Christ has returned new young farmers will again be the wave of the future–as this prophecy states.
"He shall judge between many peoples, They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; farm tools. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken." (Micah:4:3-4)
A new world is coming that will fundamentally feature young farm families.
For GN Magazine, this is Randy Stiver.