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As children, most of us fail to appreciate where our food comes from. Every night, like clockwork, dinner just magically appears on the table. As we get older, we start to appreciate the effort that goes into cooking the food, but we continue to give little thought to where the food itself comes from. We live in a society where food is readily accessible in our grocer's freezer anytime that we want something, day or night. Before arriving in stores, our food is grown, harvested, packaged, processed, transported and distributed. There may be countless individuals and businesses involved in this process. While all of these steps are incredibly important, the farmers who grow our food may be among the most important. Farming is a tough way of life; however, it can also be incredibly rewarding when successful. Both personal satisfaction and financial rewards can result from the operation of a successful farming enterprise.
As a child, I remember being completely naive about where my food originated. If someone spoke to me about farming, I envisioned the small farm down the road where you could go and pet the one single cow they owned and could view antique farm equipment. I imagined a lone farmer getting up at the crack of dawn to go out and milk several docile cows, followed by a day of tending the fields. It's true, some hobby farms or specialty farms may operate this way; however, large scale farming can be an incredibly sophisticated prospect. I never imagined that farming might be a challenging proposition; after all, what's so hard about growing a few plants or feeding a few cows? Conventional farming operations may own thousands of acres of land for the cultivation of their crops. Farming operations may utilize numerous pieces of high tech machinery in order to plant, harvest, water, and tend to their crops. Farmers must be incredibly knowledgeable about the types of seed they choose to use including the variety's resistance to disease and pests. Farmers must keep up to date on the most efficient, affordable, and safe way to protect crops against pesky insects and animals who might eat the crops. Livestock farms may have large barns to house their cows, chickens, and pigs. Dairy farmers may utilize machinery that allows them to milk scores of cows at the same time. Even the small, hobby type farms are unlikely to operate in the leisurely way I might have imagined as a child. Farming can be very difficult, fraught with challenges and setbacks.
Farming is an extra tough occupation as a result of the many factors that are wholly outside the farmer's control. Many times the success of a farm is very dependent on the weather conditions of a growing season. If things are rainier than usual, the higher than normal dampness may cause the plants to mold or rot. Dry, hot, arid weather creates its own problems as plants wither and die in drought-like conditions. Droughts can damage pasture lands for the livestock, negatively impacting their food supply. Poor seed lots can create problems. Pest invasions can decimate crops. Disease can negatively affect plants and animals alike. To farm is to face this uncertainty head on, soldier through, and hold fast to the knowledge that future farming success may be just around the next corner.
Some of the most outstanding farming in the country can be found in the state of Wisconsin. The climate of Wisconsin is fairly dry and temperate, making it ideal for crop cultivation and for supporting pasture land for livestock. While Wisconsin is known for its old world forests, there are also numerous cleared lands and prairies areas, perfect for crop farming. Historically, Wisconsin was a huge producer of wheat and was actually referred to as "America's breadbasket" in the mid 1800's as a result of its abundant wheat crop. This early success of wheat farming helped put Wisconsin on the map in terms of farming. Wheat, however, proved problematic, as yields varied dramatically from season to season, depending on the weather and pest infestations. Feed crops proved to be more reliable source of income for Wisconsin farmers and dairy farming emerged as an alternative to wheat farming. When most people think of Wisconsin agriculture today, dairy products almost certainly come to mind. Since the early 1900's, Wisconsin has been the leading producer of dairy products in the United States and is world-renowned for its cheeses and butters. From Swiss to cheddars, Wisconsin cheese producers make hundreds of styles and varieties of cheese. Wisconsin has many farms cultivating traditional crops such as soy beans, corn, hay and wheat. Additionally, Wisconsin farmers cultivate less traditional products such as cranberries, Christmas trees, and cherries, all important staples in Wisconsin agriculture.
With the plethora of dairy farms, cows are certainly numerous in Wisconsin; however, there are numerous others livestock farms here. With the resurgence of interest in specialty goat cheeses, goat farms are also an important part of the Wisconsin economy. According to www.agclassroom.org, Wisconsin chicken farms produce 1.3 billion eggs a year. Wisconsin also produces mink pelts, farm-raised trout, pork products and more.
In 2013, there were over 75,000 farms in the state of Wisconsin, making the agricultural industry a huge provider of jobs to Wisconsin citizens. According to https://agclassroom.org/kids/stats/minnesota.pdf, it is estimated that over 99% of these farms are family owned and operated. Wisconsin is also a national leader in renewable energy from farms with the use of methane digesters to turn manure into an energy source. Since the early 2000's, organic farming has become increasingly important as they focus on supplying enough product to meet rising demand. With the rise of the 'foodie' nation in which almost every other American is a gourmet, specialty hobby farms focusing on organic cheese, fresh mushrooms or arugula are more and more economically successful. The 'farm to table' movement has shifted the focus to high quality, delicious, local, and sustainable products on tables across America each every night, especially in the great state of Wisconsin.
If you have ever considered entering the Wisconsin farming industry, be sure to obtain quality advice from a trusted professional. Experts in the farming industry can provide valuable input into the type of farm most likely to succeed in today's economic climate. Such a person can also take a look at a parcel of land you are considering and review the positive and negative attributes of the land, depending on the type of farm you are looking to establish. Land purchases for farming can be tricky business, so set your mind at ease by employing the services of a local, knowledgeable agent to assist you in your search. Agents at LandBin.com can help you identify and secure the perfect parcel of land for your farming enterprise.
Yes, farming is difficult, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Farming in Wisconsin is no exception; however, it is a state world-renowned for its agricultural prowess.