Which came first?
The chicken or the egg?
That’s a riddle many people have pondered.
…As long as there is bacon to go with the egg, does it really matter?
Here’s a riddle we should ponder a little more seriously: what's happening to the American family-owned farm? And why?
There is so much information out there, it’s often a chore to churn through the curd of commentary, which at times, coagulates the facts.
Obviously, there are many pros and cons to owning a farm.
But one thing is for sure: Many of the small, family-owned farms struggle to just break even.
How can today’s independent farm survive?
What can be done about it?
We - the consumer - can help the cause.
It's easy to support the small farms by spending some coin on what they're producing or selling.
I did, and it felt good.
I also purchased farm fresh eggs… and eggs taste far better when they are freshly squeezed-out of, and then sat upon, by a happy free-range hen.
The great thing about visiting a friendly family farm is that you get to actually meet and mingle with the proud people who run it. And you get to meet and even pet some of the farm animals – like the Pushme-Pullyou or Llama or some such animal (which I was afraid to pet) at the petting zoo.
Thankfully, there are families out there who love to share and nurture their passion for keeping the family-owned farm rolling from generation to generation. The Knight Family of Smiling Hill Farm has sustainably husbanded this 500 acre farm of fields and woodlot since the 1700s.
There is so much which goes into managing and maintaining a farm, it's actually mind-boggling to a city kid like me.
(WATCH OUR SALUBRIOUS VIDEO HERE - AND SEE ME RUN AND SCREAM FROM THE WILD ANIMALS. I DID ALL MY OWN STUNTS)
As with any business: to survive, the family-owned farms need lots of “green”. Cash. Dough. Scratch. Money.
The magnificent efforts put forth by Farm Aid, Willie Nelson, John Melloncamp, and so many others who have brought attention to the matter should be applauded. The above people and entities have raised millions and raised awareness.
America needs to wake and smell the manure before we really step in it - before it’s too late for the family farm to survive.
The average age of the Family Farmer who works the land is over 50 years old, and many children of the family farm opt for the metropolitan life over milking cows and sometimes sell-off the land.
Indeed, it's a struggle for many farm families to keep plugging away.
Warren Knight and his family are acutely aware of the responsibilities and ever changing landscape (literally and figuratively) of the family farm. All members of the Smiling Hill family are environmentally conscious, and they work hard to stay on good terms with Mother Nature and Mother Earth.
They bottle their own milk in reusable bottles.
They do not use chemical fertilizers in their beautiful fields.
They do look for other ways to conserve energy and seek alternative forms of powering the farm’s daily duties.
They pride themselves on minimizing their carbon footprint (and hoof print.)
The entire Knight family understands that each and every action they take has an equal and opposite reaction. Which is why they fight so hard to make all things the best they can – so the positive impact on the environment is not just around for our lifetime, but for the lifetimes of our [proverbial] children and grandchildren… or until the Sun expands (like my high school astronomy teacher says) and swallows the earth as we know it so we won’t have to worry about the small farm anymore.
Either way, it’s a bummer if we lose either one. Seriously…Help the family farm survive.