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Friday, August 6, 2010

Family Farms - big and small

Tera's latest post "Welcome to my Family Farm" had me thinking about the factory farm vs. family farm debate, and how it's really not a debate at all. Most all farms - regardless of size - are family farms. In fact, according to the USDA, 98 percent of U.S. farms are family farms.

Sometimes it takes getting to know the farmers and their farms to realize this. I really enjoyed Tera's post because it helps introduce readers to a family farm. It also reminded me of a couple interviews I did last year for Colorado Farm Bureau's magazine Colorado Way of Life. Here's what those producers had to say:

Country Side Eggs is a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). Some might think that being a corporation means an operation isn't a family farm. But that isn't the case.

"We're still a family farm," explains third-generation farmer Terry Tormohlen, owner of Country Side Eggs. "It just helps us position ourselves financially by being an LLC."

Other producers often realize this.

"They're probably no different than we are," said forth-generation Yuma County corn and wheat farmer Nathan Weathers of incorporated family farms. "Most families incorporate to save on taxes or liability."

The people who don't realize that most farms are family farms are typically those removed from agriculture. So if you're a farmer, take after Tera and introduce your own family farm to others explaining along the way that most all farms - big and small - are family owned and operated. If you're removed from agriculture, take the time to get to know some of the families involved in farming in your area or sharing their story on the internet. It could change your perspective on just what a family farm is.

You can read the full Colorado Way of Life article, titled Generation after Generation, by downloading the magazine here.

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