Railroads traditionally have played an important role in the farming industry. Since the massive railroad construction boom in 19th century America, farmers all around the world have been presented with an opportunity to transport their produce to market, increasing the efficiency of their operations.
Cheaper Transportation Costs
One of the primary effects of railroads on farmers is the decrease that railroads bring to farmers' transportation costs. Most obviously, it becomes cheaper to transport crops to the cities and ports. In addition, farmers can buy and transport industrial goods back to farms, including farm equipment and cattle. Railroads also allow farmers to have a mobile source of labor as temporary agricultural laborers can travel more easily by railroads.
Speedy Access to Markets
Railroads are fast. Accordingly, framers can speedily transport high-value produce like fresh vegetables and fruits to the marketplace, without worrying that it might rot on the way. Modern-day farmers can also take advantage of refrigerated railroad-cars, giving farmers from developing countries like India or South Africa an opportunity to transport fresh produce to supermarkets in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia.
Because of railways, farmers who formerly grew their own food,working in unproductive subsistence farming can now specialize in high-value crops. However, this specialization, while increasing farmers' incomes, makes them dependent on world prices for the food they grow.
- Railroad tracks image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com