Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The security in farming

I haven't met any other farm owners in the Hudson Valley who don't have a day job off of the farm. It's just the simple economics behind it - food is cheap in our society and you can't make enough off of it to completely support your family.

But what small-scale farming lacks in income earnings, it makes up for in security.

Today's labor market is becoming increasingly unstable. Unemployment is up, retirement packages and pension plans are disappearing, workers are asked to bear even bigger portions of their health insurance costs, and worst of all, many jobs are expendable and reaching obsolescence. Add to that heavily indebted personal expenses, full of mortgages, credit cards and loans and a declining savings rate. So when one has a job and an income that covers expenses, all is good. As it should be.

But that's not always the case, and increasingly so. A friend of ours just disclosed to us that he has been laid off and has 90 days. He is middle-aged, with a mortgage and children, and had relocated his family for this job. Can you imagine the shock and fear in his life right now? Another friend of ours is stuck in a job she hates because she relies on the health insurance, the income to pay off her loans, and is committed to her 401k plan that will hopefully see her through retirement. But is she happy?

The jobs we have here off of Longhaul Farm are equally as precarious. And although the income we bring in from them is essential to us maintaining our lifestyle as we now live it, we are privileged to know that we could live with less because of our farm. Our farm, which brings us food, community, happiness, activity and a few customers. It is a great sense of security in this stage of the economic game, where people are no longer lifers in a company with retirements to look forward to nor have the ability to pay off mortgages in a lifetime. And most of all, we enjoy the work, the satisfaction of production, the sustaining food... and the long, relaxing winters.

So are we secure? Thankfully, yes. This farm gifts it to us.

1 comment:

  1. Very thoughtful obsevations - glad you're doing what you're doing.