From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report.

The United Nations has declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming. The UN says farm families are important producers of food for growing populations. But many family farms cannot provide retirement plans, health care or child care.

So the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has been working to get family farming included in national farm policies. The FAO wants policies that help both family farmers and large agricultural businesses. Weather problems, price drops and weak economies can hurt family farmers. For many, just one poor crop can mean failure. Family farms operate in different ways around the world. Generally, men own or pay to use the land. They also decide which crops to grow and supervise crop sales. Women are likely to work in the fields, planting and harvesting. It is difficult for family farmers to get enough of the land, water and other resources they need to succeed.

The UN has set up more than fifty national committees to deal with these issues. The committees are made up of representatives of family farm communities. Together, they decided on 5 goals to reach by 2014. One goal is to establish policies to create equal rights of men and women farmers. Another is to guarantee that nations have the right to develop their own food industry. The committees want governments to follow safety rules and provide financial aid to farmers. The committees also agreed to support young people in farming. Experts say family farms need support to compete in a time of new technology and increased international trade.

For VOA Learning English, I’m Carolyn Presutti.