What does it mean to farm? The government knows of course….
See what they think.
I’m not asking for a warm and wonderful recitation about the joys of raising a family, working with God’s green Earth or any of those other emotional triggers that so many people who receive the calling feel. I’m talking about the legal definition that opens up Uncle Sam’s deep pockets, the legal description that brings with it farm subsidies; checks in the mail totaling millions of dollars.
Last year, an ever more parsimonious Congress asked the U. S. Department of Agriculture to redefine what it means to be “actively engaged” in farming. Their proposal? Farms must document that their managers put in at least 500 hours of work annually to qualify. Calculating a laughably small 40 hour work week, a manager must work for a measly three months out of the year. A more serious time line would be a month-and-a-half.