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Farming Today and Tomorrow  A Day In the Life For Students


Today's Farmer - Fun Farm Facts

Agriculture is more than cows and crops. It is a web of product, producer, distributor and consumer and how they depend on each other for survival

Being a successful farmer today requires knowledge of advanced technology, educational preparation and business skills.

Your task

  1. Copy and paste the Farm Facts to a word processing document.

  2. Categorize the facts according to the following themes:
    1. Education
    2. Farm Size
    3. Farm Products
    4. Ag Business
    5. Computers on the Farm
    6. The Hard Work of Farming

  3. Share your list with your teacher when completed.

Farm Facts

  1. The College of Agriculture at Iowa State University provides education courses for farming. Common programs of study include agronomy, dairy science, agricultural economics and business, agricultural and biological engineering horticulture, crop and fruit science, and animal science.

  2. Because of the cost of machinery, fertilizers, feed and seed, today's farmers make many business decisions.

  3. Farmers of livestock work throughout the year. Animals must be fed and watered daily. Dairy cows must be milked two or three times a day.

  4. The number of Iowa farmers is expected to continue to decline because farms are growing larger and larger in number of acres and many farmers are retiring.

  5. Farmers do a lot of different tasks ranging from caring for livestock to operating machinery and maintaining equipment.

  6. Farmers may learn about agriculture through a training program at a college or university.

  7. Some small farms can be successful because of new markets for specialized farm products such as sod, ornamental plants, Christmas trees, flowers, bulbs, shrubbery, and fruits and vegetables grown in greenhouses.

  8. In Iowa, most farmers raise corn, soybeans and hogs. However, some Iowa farmers raise many other kinds of farm products including llamas, goats, emus, turkeys, chickens, sheep and horses to name just a few.
  9. Llama

  10. Growing up on a family farm and participating in groups like 4-H or FFA are important educational experiences for those interested in farming as a career.

  11. Operating a farm is expensive. Farmers must budget for the cost of land and machinery as well as livestock, feed, seed, and fuel for machinery.

  12. Farm work can be hazardous. Tractors and other farm machinery can cause serious injury and workers must be constantly alert on the job.

  13. Weather, disease, fluctuations in prices of farm products and federal farm programs affect how much grain farmers can grow.

  14. Modern farming is very financially complex. Farmers compete for the best market for their crops and livestock.
  15. Some farmers sell their products at farmer's markets in towns and cities.

  16. Some farmers own their land while others rent land.

  17. Email, online journals and e-newsletters from agricultural organizations help farmers stay up-to-date on the latest scientific information.

  18. Operators of large farms have employees who help with the farm work.

    Fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, honey, baked and canned goods are found at the Farmer's Market.
  19. Horticultural specialty farmers oversee the production of ornamental plants, nursery products-such as flowers, bulbs, shrubbery, and sod-and fruits and vegetables grown in greenhouses.

  20. Iowa farmers try to learn as much about farming as possible. The Internet allows quick access to the latest information about farming and the markets.

  21. As farming practices and machinery becomes more complicated, farmers spend more time in offices and at computers, where they electronically manage many aspects of their businesses.

  22. Farmers on crop farms usually work from sunrise to sunset during the planting and harvesting seasons. During the rest of the year they plan next season's crops, market their products and repair machinery.

  23. Because operating a farm today is complicated, many farmers use computers to keep financial and inventory records.

  24. Work hours are frequently long and days off are rare during the planting, growing, and harvesting seasons.

  25. Some farmers inherit their land. However, purchasing a farm or additional land requires a lot of money.

  26. Some farmers use the Internet to get the latest prices of farm products.

  27. Livestock farmers and dairy farmers attend to the health of their animals. This may even include assisting with birthing. To go on vacation, these farmers must hire an assistant or arrange for a temporary substitute.
  28. Farm in Dubuque, Iowa

  29. An increasing number of small-scale farmers are successful because of personalized direct contact with customers.

  30. Some farmers attend educational conferences where they learn about new scientific innovations, government programs and the latest machinery.

  31. Crop farmers are responsible for planning, tilling, planting, fertilizing, cultivating, spraying, and harvesting. After the harvest, they make sure the crops are properly packaged, stored, or marketed.

  32. Modern farming requires increasingly complex scientific, business, and financial decisions. Therefore, even people who were raised on farms must acquire the appropriate education.

  33. Many farmers are finding opportunities in organic food production as more consumers demand sustainable farming methods. These techniques involve raising food with a minimum of chemicals.

  34. Livestock, dairy, and poultry farmers must feed and care for the animals while keeping farm buildings clean and in good condition.

  35. Some farmers earn additional income by working a second job off the farm.

  36. Some small-scale farmers, such as some dairy farmers, belong to collectively owned marketing cooperatives that process and sell milk products.

  37. To be successful, today's farmers need both formal education and work experience.

  38. American farmers produce enough food to meet the needs of our whole country with extra grain and meat to export to other countries.

A Day in the Life of a Farmer Continued…

Photos used by permission from the USDA Online Photography Center.


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Introduction Quick Facts A Day in the Life
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Mystery Photo Ag Resource Library
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