CNN Eatocracy: How has farming changed since 1978 and “So God Made a Farmer”?

Paul Harvey So God Made a Farmer compared with today's farmsThis week has been an exciting one for those discussing food and farming. Sunday’s airing of RAM Truck’s Super Bowl ad featuring the American Farmer has had online communities buzzing about the images and characteristics that defined our farmers in 1978.

Those characteristics and values still hold true today, despite what we commonly hear in mainstream media and reports from those who have a ‘beef’ with modern farming.

Also read this post and join the conversation on CNN Eatocracy

Paul Harvey first recited “So God Made a Farmer” at the 1978 Future Farmers of America annual convention. A few things have changed in the three and a half decades since. My dad was in Junior High (and still had a full head of hair). Since then, he has raised a few thousand cattle, has broken in a few new pickups, and harvested several crops of hay.

So how do things compare between 1978 and today?

Using the numbers from our most recent U.S. Agriculture Survey (2007, a new one is being conducted for 2012), here are some interesting comparisons:

In 1978, there were 2,257,775 farms, averaging 449 acres each. In 2007, those numbers reduced to 2,204,792 farms averaging 418 acres each. Farmers today are actually smaller by 31 acres.

Today the market value of farmland and buildings is $1,892 per acre. That is up from $619 per acre in 1978 – an increase of $1,273 per acre.

Continue reading more about how the stats compare between now and 1978 over on the CNN Eatocracy page. It’s a great place to join the conversation and share your experience on how things are different or the same.

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