Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Monday, November 27, 2017

Liz Whitehurst dabbled in several careers before she ended up here, crating fistfuls of fresh-cut arugula in the early-November chill. The hours were better at her nonprofit jobs. So were the benefits. But two years ago, the 32-year-old Whitehurst -- who graduated from a liberal arts college and grew up in the Chicago suburbs -- abandoned Washington for this three-acre farm in Upper Marlboro, Md. She joined a growing movement of highly educated, ex-urban, first-time farmers who are capitalizing on booming consumer demand for local and sustainable foods and who, experts say, could have a broad impact on the food system.

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For only the second time in the last century, the number of farmers under 35 years old is increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest Census of Agriculture. Sixty-nine percent of the surveyed young farmers had college degrees -- significantly higher than the general population.

This new generation can't hope to replace the numbers that farming is losing to age. But it is already contributing to the growth of the local-food movement and could help preserve the place of midsize farms in the rural landscape.

"We're going to see a sea change in American agriculture as the next generation gets on the land," said Kathleen Merrigan, the head of the Food Institute at George Washington University and a deputy secretary at the Department of Agriculture under President Barack Obama. "The only question is whether they'll get on the land, given the challenges."

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You can make money on a three-acre farm? With arugula?

I can't read the Washington Post (no subscription) but organic arugula can't possibly be worth that much....

#1 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-11-26 10:54 PM | Reply

It's easy for someone new to farming to have a romantic notion of how much they can earn. Old farmers tell sad stories about how tough it has become to eke out a living.

#2 | Posted by rcade at 2017-11-26 11:12 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Oh they have no clues WOW No clues at all.

#3 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-11-26 11:39 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

They're probably not making this life change for the money, but for a different type of routine.

#4 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2017-11-27 06:41 AM | Reply

Just in time to get replaced by a robot.

#5 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2017-11-27 08:56 AM | Reply

You can make money on a three-acre farm? With arugula?

#1 | POSTED BY HELIUMRAT AT 2017-11-26 10:54 PM | FLAG:

Yes. You can build a business providing high quality, organic greens grown in highly sustainable, very high density aquaponic greenhouses. There's a company in Houston that's done it, they do well selling directly to high end eateries. 100% organic, pesticide free. You only have to kill a few thousand fish to learn how to operate the system well.

#6 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2017-11-27 08:58 AM | Reply

Seems like for many here the notion of "success" and earning enough income is skewed.

Perhaps waking up and not having to commute, the ability to plan you own day, and working with the soil and making enough to be satiated is enough.

Do you really need that need Samsung TV? Apple iPhone? SubZero fridge?

In the end keeping up with the Joneses is tough and unfulfilling work.

#7 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2017-11-27 10:36 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

#7 wow. I agree. 😳🤯

#8 | Posted by jpw at 2017-11-27 12:57 PM | Reply | Funny: 2

Most of these small operators are part of larger co-ops that already have connections to markets, restaurants, etc.. The key to success of these small farms is finding a niche. Some focus on obscure/unique/exotic crops, some go hydroponic or organic, some are set up to produce crops at a time when large farms are not ready to go to market or are already post-harvest. Will you make money growing 3 acres of corn? Probably not. Can you make money growing 3 acres of shiitake mushrooms, winter melons or blue potatoes that you can market directly to local restaurants? Probably.

#9 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2017-11-27 01:24 PM | Reply

In Maine the current money making crop is weed. Growers are paying $10,000 a month in rent for a building that would normally go for $6000. For me personally I love the farming trend that is going on here, my wife and I have a gentleman's farm about 20 minutes outside of Portland with great soil, the price of these has gone through the roof as young couples think they can buy them and "go off the grid". They soon find out it's actually alot of work and should be treated as a hobby and not a full time job.

#10 | Posted by fishpaw at 2017-11-27 02:15 PM | Reply

While weed is illegal federally, it will always be the #1 indoor money making crop. It's the only crop worth putting lamps over.

#11 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2017-11-27 02:19 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Try the raw milk while you're 'down on the farm'.

#12 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2017-11-27 04:36 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

New Headline: Millennials are killing desk jobs.

#13 | Posted by greeneyedguy at 2017-11-27 07:07 PM | Reply

#13 No, because that would be the media portraying millenials as the bad guys. New Headline: Red State farmers lure innocent millenials away from good jobs

#14 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2017-11-28 07:21 AM | Reply

We have a large lot, 11 acres out in the Ozarks of Oklahoma. It is heavily wooded, infested with copperheads, rocky and what isn't rock is clay. It is the quietest place I have ever been. Our nearest neighbor is over a mile away. I have no delusions, I would starve if I had to glean enough food from that plot to live, but I know there is land within 400 yards worth running a tractor over. The difference between these young folks and an old fart like me is I have done this stuff for years. It is easier to talk about than to do. As far as the drudgery of punching a time clock five days a week- try keeping animals, that is a seven day a week job. As far as being a wadge slave, try tying your security to a crop. But still, there are rewards that you can not get in a box in a town.

#15 | Posted by docnjo at 2017-11-28 11:23 AM | Reply

#15 Sounds like your plot isn't far (on a map) from where all my mom's kin are from. If you don't have river bottomland, you have a limestone hillside.

#16 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2017-11-28 11:32 AM | Reply

#42 | Posted by SpeakSoftly Sandstone actually, heavy clay, would make good brick if it wasn't so hard to get to, too many boulders. The hills around there are glacial debris between 100 and 300 ft tall covered with red cedar and jack oak.

#17 | Posted by docnjo at 2017-11-28 11:59 AM | Reply

With Trump seeking a 20%+ cut to USDA funding, it's a wonder anyone would get into farming at this point. Better choose your crops wisely; I wouldn't count on favorable crop insurance programs in the next farm bill.

#18 | Posted by JOE at 2017-11-28 12:04 PM | Reply

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