A recent Focus on Agriculture column by Stewart Truelsen addressed viewpoints of agriculture from past to present, zooming in on how a 150-year time difference has not changed how people think—farmers and the industry are rich. “The farmer, if not absolutely rich, is at least independent,” said agriculturalist Isaac Newton; and, “Soon, stockbrokers will be driving taxis—or the smart ones will be driving tractors in order to work for farmers—while farmers will be driving Lamborghinis,” wrote Jim Rogers, author of “Street Smarts,” a century and a half later in 2013.
Rogers said he thinks America’s youth has wasted time earning MBAs while they should have earned degrees in agriculture and mining. His thoughts are similar to Newton’s prior claims despite the differences in technology and mechanization. Newton said young men should not be tempted by the rapid economic gains made by merchants, traders and professionals.
However, today’s farmers and ranchers express less optimism about their future. With farm incomes expected to drop in 2014, recent wealth in the business that has left consumers complacent about agriculture’s future is not catching farmers and ranchers off guard. “There have been too many boom and bust cycles since Newton’s official report on their livelihood,” Truelsen wrote.