For hundreds of years, the land that is the United States functioned almost entirely as an agrarian state. In other words, almost everyone was either a farmer or belonged to a family of farmers. But over the years, as urbanization increased and the industrial revolution took hold, people began to move into cities to find work in factories, and more recently, office buildings. Over time, small and mid-size farms have been overtaken by much larger, more consolidated farms and agribusinesses.
However, studies show that small, family-owned farms are making a comeback. In fact, for the first time since the Great Depression, the number of farms in the U.S. has actually grown over the past decade. The increase is small—around 4 percent—but the fact there was an increase at all means that farming as a way of life isn’t dead. And in fact, more people have decided that perhaps that old-fashioned way of life is for them.
A younger generation disillusioned by corporate life may be contributing to this boom, along with those who are facing the brunt of the recession and finding it difficult to land or keep a job. Farming is hard work, but can be a rewarding profession. Experts believe that the rise in farming may continue over the next few years, as the economy struggles to completely rebound and high unemployment becomes the new standard.
Whether or not this trend is permanent remains to be seen, however, as the data could be simply a blip on the radar after a 70-year downward trend.