Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, recently wrote in a blog post “Do you know your farmer?… The hard work that goes into producing our nation’s food supply is being taken for granted.”
I couldn’t agree more.
But it’s not just their hard work, in terms of labor, that goes unrecognized. It’s the hard work of maintaining the health of their family and the health of their business as well. A recent publication by Food Solutions New England, Home Grown: The Economic Impact of Local Food Systems in New Hampshire, reports:
- NH farmers have an annual average wage of $4,985.
- Seventy percent of NH farms operate at a net loss.
On a smaller scale, last year’s Monadnock Region Farmer Focus Group highlighted these challenges:
- Many farmers lack health insurance.
- Farmers struggle to find and adequately compensate seasonal labor.
- Property taxes continue to increase.
What better time to get to know our farmers than New Hampshire Eat Local Month. Let’s recognize their hard work and the challenges they face – and together let’s identify solutions.