I've taught Carcassonne to a number of new players (it's a great "gateway game")! However, the problem that I keep having is with the farmers. Players are able to quickly grasp the idea of putting meeple thieves on roads, soldiers in cities, and monks on monasteries.
But the farmers and their farms confuse the heck out of them during their first game. Generally they are confused about the mechanics of how they work or they don't see their utility. Thus any experienced players surge ahead because the new players just don't understand farms. If I get to play a second game with these new players, they have a better grasp on how farms work and can usually use them effectively, but this is a pain point of the first game.
A friend of mine suggested possibly playing the first game with no farms (giving these new players time to focus on the other mechanics and preventing experienced players from taking advantage of their confusion over farms), then adding in farms for a second game.
What sort of issues might appear if we removed farms in the first game? Would it still be playable? And would this be an effective way of alleviating the trouble we have had with teaching how to use farms?