What is Modern Farm Life Like?

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Life on a farm is constantly changing. New technologies, along with a rising interest in healthier and organic eating, have had a huge impact on how many farms do business. At the same time, a growing population has put more demands on farmers, requiring many to find ways to increase their production levels. The small family farms that used to produce the majority of the produce, grains, and meat have been largely replaced by factory farms, and the majority of small family farms that are still operating are struggling to keep up.

Farmers use tractors and other mechanical devices on modern farms.
Farmers use tractors and other mechanical devices on modern farms.

Technology has made most aspects of farm life easier than it has ever been before. Bigger and more efficient equipment makes short work of tasks, like cleaning out stalls and plowing up fields, that used to take two or three times as long. Even milking has become an automated task, with milking parlors that are capable of milking dozens of cows in minutes, with very little human involvement. These advances have allowed farmers to work faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Life on a farm will consist of cleaning out stalls.
Life on a farm will consist of cleaning out stalls.

One of the biggest focuses in farming is developing better ways to increase production while still maintaining high quality standards. In addition to newer technology, factory farms are allowing companies to produce a lot of product for less money than traditional farming would require. This style of farming has gotten attention from animal cruelty groups who say that the animals being raised in many of these farms are not being treated in a humane way.

Keeping animals fed is an important aspect of farm life.
Keeping animals fed is an important aspect of farm life.

As more and more people become concerned about the treatment of animals and eating organic foods, many farms have changed the way they operate. There are a lot of traditional farmers who are embracing the organic movement. In many ways, it is a return to a simpler way of farming. Animals are treated better, and fewer chemicals are being used on produce and in livestock feed.

Modern farms use computers to track production and financial data.
Modern farms use computers to track production and financial data.

Modern farm life, despite the introduction of new technologies and farming practices, has not changed much from what it has always been. Farmers still wake up early, and spend their days doing hard, generally labor-intensive work. There are still animal to feed, cows to be milked, and fields to be plowed, regardless of improvements to the equipment that helps to get the job done. Farm life still requires a lot of commitment and sacrifice.

Some modern farms employ their own veterinarians.
Some modern farms employ their own veterinarians.

The main change in modern farm life is in the way farms, especially larger operations, are run. It is not uncommon for even small farms to have several hired workers, an animal manager, and maybe even a veterinarian on the payroll. Family run farms are becoming rarer, and factory farms, along with other larger farm corporations, are becoming the norm. Although there are still many traditional family farms, they are quickly becoming a dying breed as modern practices change farm life forever.

Modern dairy farms use milking machines to milk their cows.
Modern dairy farms use milking machines to milk their cows.
Eggs are a common product sold by farms.
Eggs are a common product sold by farms.
Sheep may be raised on a farm that profits from selling wool.
Sheep may be raised on a farm that profits from selling wool.
Modern farms work hard at producing large quantities of fruits and vegetables.
Modern farms work hard at producing large quantities of fruits and vegetables.
Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Margo has a varied academic background, which has involved everything from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education. These wide-ranging interests make her an ideal wiseGEEK writer, as she always enjoys becoming an expert on new and unfamiliar topics.

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Discussion Comments

Animandel
Most of the old family farms have disappeared, but I am reading more lately about people coming together to start small, environment friendly farms that produce healthy produce. Some of these farms grow enough food to feed the group and to sell for profit at markets and produce stands.

This may not be the traditional family farm, but I think these small farms may be as much a part of the future of farming as the large technology driven operations with the fancy equipment. Farm life is changing, but not all for the bad.

Drentel

Sporkasia - I don't know whether small farmers so much had to be gotten rid of as they simply couldn't compete. The old methods of farming were no longer cost effective. The bottom line is that small farmers could no longer make a living, and when that happens it's time to move aside-- survival of the fittest.

Farm life today looks more like a business than a family way of life. This is how is has to be if farmers are going to make money and people are going to have food to eat.

Sporkasia

I understand the need to produce more food, and I understand that technology is changing farming as it has changed most professions. Technology filters into all our lives in numerous and remarkable ways. This being said, I still miss the old family farms and farm communities.

Were the old farm tractors and other farm equipment and methods of farming so inefficient that the small farmers had to be eliminated?

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