Monday, May 4, 2015

The Loss of Family Farms...

Greg and I have always wanted to farm. We both come from families that farmed so thats all we ever wanted to do for a living. Like most young farmers in america our families had large farms with 180+ acres of land but because of the greed or stumbling blocks of other family members the farm land was lost so we in turn lost any hope of starting a farm with parental farm land.
To give you a bit of history on myself. My grandparents owned a 180+ acre Dairy farm in Rogers City, Michigan. The farm had been in my family for over 100 years before we lost it. When my grandfather died my grandmother let my uncle run the farm as it had always been him and grandpa. My uncle always thought bigger, better, and modern was the way to go...shiny new stuff. My uncle got married and totally remodeled the farm house, he replaced the old wooden barns i loved with pole buildings, he bought new tractors, a new truck, and new toys....thru a mortgage against the farm property. Then he had a daughter who has health problems and that took a lot of money so he mortgaged the farm more, then he went and worked on the boat as he sold off the livestock. Then the bank foreclosed on the farm and told us we could buy it back for $490,000. My father did end up getting the bank to sell him back 40 acres of the woods where his hunting camp is, the rest was sold to a construction company who flattened everything except one pole building and 1/3 of the 100+ year old barn. The day i saw what they had done to our farm was a heartbreaking day.
Greg's story is a bit more simple mostly because i have not asked every painful detail. Greg is from Iowa the commercial corporate farm capital of the US....where non corporate farming is not common. His father is an alcoholic, he drank away the 120+ acre farm Greg's grandfather gave him. Greg's grandfather retained roughly 65 acres of the original farmland and does still farm it. His family has never done corporate farming, his grandfather saw the traps in it and refused every offer.
As you can probably imagine one of the saddest things for a young farmer to see is the farm being taken away, demolished, lost...it is heat breaking. Despite losing our family farms we both still want to farm. There are not a lot of young people that want to farm, to much work for them. So the search was on for farmland we could afford and we dont have much to afford it with. We found a 20 acre farm we very much hope to get, so much so i started a kickstarter campaign. The campaign may not go anywhere but you know at least i did try.