The problem is not on the farm, it's in rural employment.
We have noted in the past that rural areas are showing many of the same problems that the inner cities showed decades ago when the jobs left. Some of it seems to be a factor of corporate consolidation. Another factor is technology.
Record Profits No Job Creator on Farms as Owners Automate
Alan Bjerga, Bloomburg, 30 January 2013 (hat tip: NC)
The property Kevin Liefer and his son, Kirk, cultivate in southern Illinois has been expanding for decades without adding a single manager. These are boom times for farming and a bust for farm jobs.
The 3,600 acres of mostly corn, wheat and soybeans the Liefers hold were about 30 separate, individually operated farms more than 40 years ago, said Kevin. As families left, the homesteads near Red Bud, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of St. Louis, melded into one operation.
Older tractors were replaced with models that cultivate more ground and serve as miniature offices, complete with global positioning systems that allow them to steer themselves. Mobile phones enable communication while in the fields.
“There’s so much more you can do now without as much labor,” said Kevin, 58. “The consolidation has been rapid.”