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Effects of Railroads on Farmers

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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.

Greater Specialization

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.


Eliah Sekirin started writing newspaper articles in 2003. His work has appeared in "Junij Poliyehnik" and on Web sites such as His writing interests are business, finance, economics, politics, arts, history, culture and information technology. Eliah holds a Bachelor of Science in econometrics from Kiev Polytechnic Institute.

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