The Benefits of Owning a Farm in 2023
Owning a farm is one of the most rewarding experiences for any landowner. From the physical labor that comes with maintaining the land to the joy of watching your crops grow, there’s something special about owning a patch of nature for yourself. But what are some of the other benefits of owning farm?
This year, a major egg shortage has been plaguing the United States. Due to avian influenza, poor-quality chicken feed, and fires in some of the largest egg-producing facilities, prices for eggs have skyrocketed. Meat prices, and really all grocery items for that matter, have also increased significantly due to inflation. These examples support the fact that one major advantage to owning a farm is the ability to achieve self-sufficiency. A farm or small-scale garden would allow for the reduction of reliance on grocery stores, as well as possible exposure to poor-quality goods. With enough hard work, a plot of land can be transformed into an independent food source.
Not only would a personal farm be financially beneficial in the long run, but also beneficial to one’s health as well! Growing your own fruits and vegetables ensures that the food is as fresh as possible—no harmful chemicals or preservatives included. According to the Environmental Working Group the following produce made their list for 2022’s “Dirty Dozen:” strawberries, spinach, apples, grapes, celery, and tomatoes. The items on this list are contaminated with more pesticides than most other crops. Strawberries alone, especially out-of-season ones, were found to have 36 types of pesticides on them in one study! According to the Mayo Clinic, the potential benefits of organic produce are as follows: they contain more of certain antioxidants and flavonoids, organic farm animals often contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, no radiation exposure for preservation, and no genetic modifications. Plus, with regular access to fresh produce, one is more likely to eat healthier as well!
Mass-produced meat and poultry typically contain antibiotics and growth hormones, which are unnecessary to consume. BreastCancer.org suggests there is a real concern that the pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones used may cause health problems, including an increase in breast cancer risk. Some of the most commonly used pesticides have been shown to mimic estrogen in laboratory animals.
Small-scale farms can also provide environmental benefits. For example, they use less energy than large industrial farms because they use manual labor instead of large-scale machines that burn fuel. Smaller farms are typically organically managed—which means that fewer chemicals are used on the land—and this helps to reduce pollution caused by pesticides and fertilizers entering into local waterways. Soils are generally healthier because of crop rotation, there is better conservation of water, and biodiversity of an area isn’t as threatened. According to a report on sustainability from McGill.CA, consuming or buying local foods reduces emissions because it doesn’t “have to travel as far to arrive on your plate.”
A less obvious benefit of farming would be the community aspect of it. Community matters when it comes to farming. It’s not uncommon for farmers to help each other out when times get tough, providing support both financially and physically during difficult times. Local farmers markets provide growers an opportunity to sell their produce and make extra income while also forming relationships, ultimately supporting the local economy as well.
There are about 2 million farming operations in the U.S., 88% of which are small-scale, family farms. Garden Center Magazine and Ruby Home Luxury Real Estate reported that over 18 million households started gardening in 2021, initially spurred by the pandemic. Gardening and small-scale farming will only continue to prove beneficial, especially with the current inflation trends, as it provides a way to live sustainably while prioritizing health and community.