2014: The Year of Family Farming

Around the world, family farms are at the heart of agriculture, and responsible for growing a large portion of the crops that go into food, fiber and fuel. In light of their significance to communities around the world, the United Nations adopted a resolution to make this year the International Year of Family Farming.

The average size of farms in the U.S. has increased over the years, but a whopping 95 percent of farms in the U.S. are still family-owned and operated. Many consumers may be under the impression that corporate farms have overtaken what was once considered a family business. To challenge this misconception, the CommonGround™ blog has published a test that asks readers to distinguish between two scenarios – one representing a corporate farmer and one representing a family farmer. Can you tell the difference?

One of the purposes of the International Year of Family Farming is to promote awareness of the many challenges facing family farmers, such as opportunities to actively participate in the larger value chain; sufficient access to land, water and technology; and gaining enough support from governing bodies and other organizations. Despite these challenges, family farmers contribute a great deal within local and global communities by creating jobs, infusing the economy and helping alleviate hunger and poverty.

In a recent article, José Graziano Da Silva, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), points out that family farmers have historically been front-runners in adopting sustainable techniques such as conservation tillage. Da Silva also stresses that various forms of farming, both small- and large-scale, play a role in successful agricultural production.

Learn more about the International Year of Family Farming by clicking here.

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