How is Farming Different From Other Businesses?

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Scott Whitford

We all have challenges in our lives. Farming, however, involves a degree of uncertainty, not seen by most careers. Weather impacts our daily lives and the fate of our crops and animals. Severe storms can rip our crops to shreds. Drought parches fields and withers the crops.

Weather can prevent timely agricultural practices, such as planting and harvesting. When the weather turns favorable, long, arduous workdays can ensue until these tasks are finished.

Besides the fickleness of weather, farmers also face challenges from our labor supply. Immigration is a controversial issue with no easy answers. Often, the harvest of our crops is dependent upon good, reliable foreign laborers. Workers from Mexico and other countries have filled the gaps when the supply of local labor is insufficient. Cumbersome government regulations often impede the availability of these workers as crops deteriorate in the field.

Regardless of the planning, hard work, and modern technology we apply, often the fate of our livelihood is dependent upon circumstances over which we have no control. Most people who consume the food and fiber that we produce don’t understand these uncertainties in our lives and may even wonder why someone would choose such a career. Farm life, and the work ethic it instills, can be a very rewarding and satisfying career. Even with the challenges we face, I love farming and wouldn’t choose any other career.

Scott Whitford, his brother Dalton and cousin Wyatt farm flue-cured tobacco and grain in Pamlico County.

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