While corporate farmers provide a large amount of the needs the world has for agricultural products, family farms do still exist and can thrive. However, they have needs that sometimes can only be met by steel.
Buildings: In order to store things, buildings are needed. They are also needed for cattle, horses and other livestock. Wood is great, but it is more expensive and it doesn’t last as long as steel. A steel building will outlast most wooden barns.
Well house: Besides needing the building, a well house needs to be able to hold all of the equipment that is needed to pump water out of the well. It may also double as a storage building. However, steel is used for the bit that digs the well and may also be an important part of the well housing.
Fencing: Both posts and fencing can be made from steel. It is lighter, cheaper and lasts longer. Many horses are kept in pipe corrals; using steel pipes to keep the horses safe and out of trouble. Barbed wire may be added for cows, as they may not respect the pipe corral. That, too, is made of steel.
Feeding: Even if the farm grows only enough for the family to live on, feeding troughs and buckets are going to be needed. Wood can get very nasty very quickly, especially if chickens are involved. They tend to be indiscriminant about where they deposit waste. Sometimes it is in their feeding troughs and water trough. Steel can be easily sterilized but wood will absorb it and the smell will become overpowering.
Tanks: There are a lot of reasons one would need a tank on a farm. Dairy farms use tanks to hold the milk being produced. Water tanks can be found in distant fields, especially in a more arid environment. Tanks can hold wastewater, slurry and compost. Steel is the best to use because plastic will wear out in the outdoor environment. It will also make it harder for animals to get into the compost bin.
Watering: Gone are the days of hauling out a steaming teapot to melt the water in the watering troughs and bowls. Continuous watering systems can be rigged so as not to freeze and provide water without having to carry it in buckets or teapots. These systems range from those small enough for a chicken coop to those that can handle a corral of cattle or horses.
Equipment: Tractors, diskers, windrowing equipment and even tow behind sprayers or carts all rely on steel. It makes a durable, dent resistant housing for the equipment. The blades, engine blocks and other parts are also made of steel. While some use rubber for spray tanks, the screws, nuts, bolts and other items that hold it together tend to be made of steel.
Brushing equipment: Cattle need a bit of skincare, as do other farm animals. However, for the cows, there are giant brushes set up to help them scratch off dead skin and other things that can irritate them. Some are rotating, with a metal housing. All of them have to be made of steel in order to protect the equipment from eight hundred pounds (or more) of cow.