By Lacey Newlin
Things have changed a little since Jed Clampett first struck oil on television in the early 1960s. With the rising cost of operating a farm, especially in the midst of a drought, the term “oil boom” has become a safety net for agriculture. Rather than financing a mansion with a cement pond in Beverly Hills, oil strikes have kept many family farms afloat during trying times of late.
According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, the cost of production has shot through the roof. In 2007, the census reported $241.1 billion were spent on farming expenses. That number increased by 36.4 percent in 2012, totaling $328.9 billion American farmers spent to keep their operation going. These numbers are only expected to increase.
With the rising cost of raising a crop and purchasing cows, it’s no wonder the average farmer’s age keeps going up. The average age of the primary farm operator has risen from 50.5 years of age in 1982 to 58.3 years as of 2012. The 2012 census also indicated only 10,714 farmers in the U.S. are under age 25.
Some parts of the United States, like Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota and Montana, among others, have been lucky in that the existence of oil and gas has helped to alleviate these two problems by some measure.
“It has really made a lot of good paying jobs,” said one farmer. “These young men can come home, back to the farm and can stay and raise their family instead of going to a city and getting a job in a different profession.” [Read More]
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