Today's Farmer - Fun 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.
6. Farmers may learn about agriculture through a training program
at a college or university.
9. 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.
28. Some farmers attend educational conferences where they learn about
new fertilizers, genetic seeds, conservation practices, scientific innovations,
government programs and the latest machinery.
30. Modern farming requires increasingly complex scientific, business,
and financial decisions. Therefore, even people who were raised on farms
must acquire the appropriate education.
35. To be successful, today's farmers need both formal education and
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
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.
27. An increasing number of small-scale farmers are successful because
of personalized direct contact with customers.
34. Some small-scale farmers, such as some dairy farmers, belong to
collectively owned marketing cooperatives that process and sell milk
8. In Iowa, most farmers raise corn, soybeans and hogs. However, some
Iowa farmers raise many other kinds of farm products including Llama,
goats, emus, turkeys, chickens, sheep and horses to name just a few.
12. Weather, disease, fluctuations in prices of farm products and
Federal farm programs affect how much grain farmers can grow.
14. Some farmers sell their products at farmer's markets in towns
31. 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.
36. American farmers produce enough food to meet the needs of our
whole country with extra grain and meat to export to other countries.
2. Because of the cost of machinery, fertilizers, feed and seed, today's
farmers make many business decisions.
10. Operating a farm is expensive. Farmers must budget for the cost
of land and machinery as well as livestock, feed, seed, and fuel for
13. Modern farming is very financially complex. Farmers compete for
the best market for their crops and livestock.
15. Some farmers own their land while others rent land.
17. Operators of large farms have employees who help with the farm
24. Some farmers inherit their land. However, purchasing a farm or
additional land requires a lot of money.
Computers on the Farm
16. Email, online journals and e-newsletters from agricultural organizations
help farmers stay up-to-date on the latest scientific information.
19. 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.
20. 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. Because operating a farm today is complicated, many farmers use
computers to keep financial and crop records.
25. Some farmers use the Internet to get the latest prices of farm
The Hard Work of Farming
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.
5. Farmers do a lot of different tasks range from caring for livestock
to operating machinery and maintaining equipment.
11. Farm work can be hazardous. Tractors and other farm machinery
can cause serious injury and workers must be constantly alert on the
18. 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.
21. Farmers on crop farms usually work from sunrise to sunset during
the planting and harvesting seasons. During the winter months they plan
the next year's crops, market their products and repair machinery.
23. Work hours are frequently long and days off are rare during the
planting, growing, and harvesting seasons.
26. Livestock farmers and dairy farmers monitor the health of their
animals. This may even include assisting with birthing. To go on vacation,
these farmers who have animals must hire an assistant or arrange for
a temporary substitute.
29. Crop farmers are responsible for planning, tilling, planting,
fertilizing, cultivating, spraying, and harvesting. After the harvest,
they make sure the crops are properly stored and marketed.
32. Livestock, dairy, and poultry farmers must feed and care for the
animals while keeping farm buildings clean and in good condition.
33. Some farmers who own small farms earn additional income by working
a second job in a factory or office in town.