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To Stay on the Land, American Farmers Add Extra -2-

25 Feb 2018 6:07 pm

Mr. Morrow figures he would need to grow crops on 1,000 to 1,500 acres to make ends meet through farming alone. But there's little land available nearby, and when acres come up for rent, they are typically snatched up by bigger, better-capitalized operations able to pay higher rates. "Right now it doesn't look very promising to be able to pick up more ground," he said.

He and his wife recently put pencil to paper to determine whether the farm and railroad income was enough for Mrs. Morrow to quit her job as director of food service for nearby schools. It wasn't. "The boys are like garbage disposals," he said. "They like to eat."

For now, Mr. Morrow said, he is content -- he doesn't like to sit still and thinks farm life teaches his sons good values and a strong work ethic.

He also knows other farmers who have long worked multiple jobs that now look decades older than they are. He said if farming alone can't support his family in five years he may give up all but 100 acres to farm for fun. "Hopefully we don't have to do that," he said. "In 15 to 20 years you'll see big, corporate farms and you won't see very many, if any at all, little farmers."

Write to Jacob Bunge at jacob.bunge@wsj.com and Jesse Newman at jesse.newman@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 25, 2018 13:07 ET (18:07 GMT)

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