It is clear that large, commercial agricultural operations are replacing smaller farms at an ever increasing rate. Currently, in 2017, less than one in ten people who live in areas classified as rural are living on farms. 50 years ago this number was closer to one in five – an 80% drop in half a decade. Unfortunately this trend looks like it is set to continue in the current direction. Obviously this is having a huge impact on rural communities, their economies and basic way of life. The unfortunate truth is that most of the rural communities in the US are poor – much poorer than city-based communities or even small towns. The ones that are doing well financially tend to be populated with older generations who are retiring to rural areas after already making their living in earlier years. The rise of large farming operations, and the demise of traditional farming, is not helping any of these rural communities in terms of their economic situation.
The biggest threat posed by commercial farms is a vast reduction in the number of jobs available on smaller agricultural businesses. These jobs, at one time, were the lifeblood of many if not most rural communities. In cases where larger commercial farms are being built near rural communities – where traditional farms once existed – is having another very real negative effect: Home and land values are decreasing.
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