Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Changing Social Side of Farming in Iowa

The following bullet points were selected from the "Iowa farm and rural life poll: 2010 summary report" by J. Gordon Arbuckle, Jr., extension sociologist; Paul Lasley, extension sociologist; Peter Korsching, professor; and Chris Kast, research assistant. The average Farm Poll participants were 64 years old, which is a statistic all in itself.
  • Nearly 90% of farmers agreed that people do not depend on each other as they have in the past
  • 71% believed that they have fewer neighbors than they did 10 years ago
  • 55% indicated that they only see their neighbors when they drive by their farms
  • 58% believed neighbors helping each other had declined
  • 79% indicated that visitation among neighbors had declined
  • 72% of farmers agreed that they can always count on their neighbors if they need help
Real stats:
  • More than three-quarters of Iowa’s counties have lost population since 1980, and half have seen their populations drop by more than 10 percent.
  • Counties that rely the most on farming have generally been the hardest hit, with a number of Iowa’s farm-dependent counties losing 20 percent or more of their population between 1980 and 2000. Over that same period, the rural population that lives on farms declined from nearly 400,000 to under 200,000.
None of this is surprising when we consider that farms have gotten much larger and society has become less social. As farmers have become more affluent, they rely less upon their neighbors for sharing equipment and as equipment compensates for labor inputs, helping each other has also been on the decline for many decades. Yet, these factors are leading to more isolation and remote living by farmers, something that does not appeal to much of the younger generation. ---KM

To read the rest go here.

No comments:

Post a Comment