Lots of folks in the same boat. OTOH if the consumer wants it there are thousands of farmers willing to provide. I’m in an area where there are young, college educated couples and individuals just scrambling to get access to land to farm. Issues with stupid food laws and problems with the aging farmers whose only retirement income is the potential sale of the farm land at high prices where it usually goes to developers or megafarms limit their access. But there are signs of changes. Locally there is a lot of optomism if we can just get the government regulators the heck out of our way. Joel Salatin has many good ideas and so do other folks in the alternative ag arena.
Every consumer can make a difference. You make a choice in how rural America will survive every time you buy food or naturally grown fiber. If you want increased feedlots, mega factory farms etc. then by all means buy the lowest cost food items, buy things shipped out of season from around the world and buy pre-made ready to eat foods. If you want regenerative agriculture, increased carbon storage, vibrant rural towns filled with people and careful stewardship of public natural resources then buy from the smaller farmers. Budget more of your income for food, and take classes or ask the farmer if you are unsure how to cook it. Buy a whole hog, or sheep or half a beef direct from the producer. Join a CSA or buy from neighbors, or start a community garden and share the produce. Petition your lawmakers to eliminate the barriers to selling locally produced food. Eliminate the requirements for government oversight on slaughter, food handling mandates etc for farms with smaller production volumes. Make us label the source so the consumer knows but don’t require a half million dollar investment just to be able to sell 10 sheep a year to a restaurant! We aren’t the source of food contamination issues, big aggregators are. Besides, even if everything we did produce was bad it would only affect a small number of people. I’ve never produced as much meat from all species in my entire lifetime as the latest beef contamination problem! Make the rules the same for all species. I sell sheep so I am bound by USDA slaughter regulations and inspection rules that add $5/lb to the cost of my meat but my neighbor who sells yaks or the one that sells rabbits or the elk farmers are not required to do any of that.
You all have a choice, rural America depends on every consumer making wise choices in your food.