Monday, February 11, 2008

The Empty Barn



This barn sits empty, a reminder of the days when the family farm was a viable business endeavor.

Our area was once a thriving agricultural community made up of hundreds of small family farms. Some milk cows, laying hens and a few hogs could provide a subsistence living and a small profit for a family working fifty to one hundred acres of cropland and pasture. During the 1960’s the death knell began sounding for the small family farm.

I well remember these years as Dad and Granddad sat at every meal talking about the prices for their milk and eggs falling; while the price of feed and supplies continued to climb. It seemed as though this was the only subject worthy of discussion for breakfast, dinner and supper. Although other subjects were brought up, talk would always return to the “Middle Man” taking all the profits. As a child I didn’t understand who this mysterious “Middle Man” was, only that he was a bad man and the cause of the monotonous meal conversations.

At the time I did not realize, I was witnessing first hand the death of the small family farm and the pain it was causing to those who were trying to hold on to the old ways.

11 comments:

photowannabe said...

This also helps me understan some of the comments on my barn post a few days ago. It just seems so sad to me.

dot said...

Great post Salty! Very sad but true.
I love old barns and this one is a beauty.

Marvin said...

Great shot of the old barn, Salty.

I wasn't living here to see it happen, but the same scenario occurred in the Ozarks. I imagine it happened throughout the country.

Meggie said...

Lovely photo, Salty. Even though my parents were not farmers, there were many conversations at our home about the grim future of the hard working farmer.

oldmanlincoln said...

An interesting photograph. I share with you the middle man thing. What a shame our market system employed them.

Shionge said...

It seems as if I was turned back in time Salty and sitting there listening to all the buzz about the life of being a farmer :D

I have enjoyed this, thank you and yes i saw lots and lots of deserted barn when we were cruising along the freeway :D

Old Wom Tigley said...

You can tell by the comments above Salty you sure touched a nerve with this sad post. I can imagine the worry and hardship that must have been around back then. I don't know if the same thing happened here. I know that a lot of our farmers have turned barns (brick) into houses. Village life now suffers through the high cost of the houses... making it hard for true village folk to get a step on the ladder when it comes to housing. Some rural areas are full of second home or holiday houses for the rish, left empty all year while villages who live, work, riase they children there struggle. I think rural life every where is in the decline. Schools shops and our beloved village 'Pubs' and 'Post Offices' are shutting down.
Sigh of the times...

SHOOTING STAR said...

I like this picture. I am originally from a farm and this picture takes me home.

Willard said...

How true this post is and Tom really hits on a point.

We are about two hours drive from the D.C., Baltimore area. When I was young we knew everyone in the community, but now there has been a tremendous influx of "refugees" from the urban areas who commute to work or are retired and moved here .
Since most jobs pay better in the cities they have priced land and many houses out of the range of the old original "native families".

Now high fuel costs and the mortgage crisis are causing problems for both parties, so who knows what the future holds!

Sharon said...

This is a wonderful old barn picture. I love them. *sigh* I remember my grandad talking about this.

Chad Oneil Myers said...

Very nice, Dad.