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Farming Today and Tomorrow A Day in the Life - Today's Farmer - Fun Farm Facts For Teachers


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 work experience.

Farm Size

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.

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 products.


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 and cities.

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.

Ag Business

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 machinery.

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 work.

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 products.

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 job.

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.


  For Teachers:
Teacher's Overview Quick Facts A Day in the Life
Farm Tech Trek Scavenger Hunt Newsroom
Mystery Photo Ag Resource Library
bulletNational Standards
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