Viewpoint: Farms today are massive—but it’s not because they’re ‘greedy factory farms’

Credit: Ocean Photography/Veer
Credit: Ocean Photography/Veer

In 1936, there were 142,000 farms in Saskatchewan, which was the largest number this [Canadian] province had ever seen – and would ever see. In 2016, that number had dropped to 36,952. You could go anywhere in the developed world (and in much of the developing world) and find the same trend: over time, the number of farms declines. This has been ongoing for a hundred years. The question is, why?

Here’s the reality: people aren’t forced off the farm. They choose to leave.

As the number of farms declines, what happens with all that farmland they leave behind? Someone is going to farm it. Obviously, this creates bigger and bigger farms. Why would another farmer want to take that land on? The same reason your grandparents moved to the city in the first place – opportunity.

For those of us who chose to farm for a career, expansion creates opportunity for us to grow our businesses, and seek a better living for ourselves and our families.

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Growing my farm allows me to hire more people. It creates the ability to increase my net income, which has the effect of increasing my family’s standard of living, just as a pay raise would for someone working for a company or the government. 

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