This week we will be looking at the small family farmer. Today family farms are quickly becoming a thing of the past, as large corporate entities are taking over the farming arena. When I was growing up, everyone grew cotton. Anyone with any size patch of land would plant cotton. It took a tractor, a few other pieces of equipment, and a cotton trailer to get the cotton to the cotton gin. Today, there are only a few cotton farmers in the area, and they farm huge amounts of farmland. They use enormous multi million dollar pieces of equipment. In fact, much of the processing that was formerly done at the cotton gin is done right in the the field. The result of this high degree of mechanization is that the little guy can not compete. In fact, the local cotton gin was shut down decades ago. The small amount of farming that is done is mainly for growing hay or other forage for livestock, and most all farmers are married to a woman who works in town. The idea of a self sufficient farm family making a living solely on farming is quickly fading into the past.
The picture above shows a farmer in 1900, plowing his field in Hampton, Virginia.