The State of the Small Farmer

The small farmer is the foundation of America, but rural communities and farmers are struggling. With fewer jobs available and lower wages for these positions, today’s small farmer faces worse conditions than they did a generation ago. This is because the US agricultural model is extractive – in other words, profit is funneled away from farmers to a handful of multinational corporations.

This means farmers are paid 14 cents for each dollar, which is the smallest amount ever recorded in US history. The industrialization of the food industry has made product pricing non-competitive, leading farmers to essentially “take what they can get.” The resulting economic stress has put farmers at risk of depression and suicide. Farmers also have little control over important factors in their livelihood, like the weather, markets, and policy. Uncertainty means individuals in nonmetropolitan/rural areas are statistically more likely to commit suicide than their urban counterparts. To make matters worse, smaller farms are more stressed: the odds of suicide are 1.7 higher than homicide for farm operations with less than 11 employees.

Since farmworkers make less money, they also have less to invest in their community. When local businesses dry up, the culture and character of these rural communities are lost; younger generations leave town for other opportunities and the remaining folks are left struggling to make ends meet. Opioids, which thrive in areas plagued with economic hardship, cause more overdoses in rural areas than urban areas – and Georgia alone is among the 11 highest states with prescription opioid deaths.

Farm’d seeks to change this narrative by uplifting the state of the small farmer. By eliminating the middle man, Farm’d brings buyers and farmers together to foster transparency and authenticity in all transactions. Farmers control the pricing and payout of their products, while chefs know exactly who is growing their food and where it’s coming from. Better yet, by selling direct through Farm’d, farmers retain 3x the profit margin. Farmers also have license over their products because they are not committing to an exclusive contract with a big corporation. Between the higher wages, localized relationships, and transparency, Georgia’s small farmers are empowered to grow nutritional food, participate in their communities, and experience a higher quality of life.

1935 there were 7M farms in the US and today there’s less than 2M left. 90% of all farms in the US are considered small family farms but they are responsible for 25% of food productivity in the US. Debt over Income ratio for farmers in the US is at a 30 year high.

Julia Kahn