From suits and ties: emerging young farmers

According to a recent article published by The Washington Post, a growing number of young Americans are leaving their city lives and desk jobs to embark on agricultural enterprises which could aid in alleviating the current ageing of small- and middle- scale farms.
calendar icon 29 November 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

A problem currently facing American agriculture is aging of farms; The Washington Post (TWP) reports that the average age of the American farmer is now around 60 years old, which risks the longevity of ‘midsize family farms where children aren’t interested in succeeding their parents’.

According to TWP report, it may be too early to say whether young farmers will be able to build the resiliency of American farms:

The number of young farmers entering the field is nowhere near enough to replace the number exiting, according to the USDA: Between 2007 and 2012, agriculture gained 2,384 farmers between ages 25 and 34 - and lost nearly 100,000 between 45 and 54.

Even so, the opportunities presented for young aspiring farmers are great, and this could be highly beneficial for American farms in the future.

A survey conducted by the National Young Farmers Coalition indicates that the majority of young farmers did not grow up in agricultural families. So what exactly is driving young professionals to leave their suits, ties and desk jobs for overalls, gum boots and manual labour? TWP speaks to several young farmers that have recently undertaken a career shift to various agricultural pursuits on the basis that they can ‘capitalise on the booming consumer demand for local and sustainable food’ whilst feeling like they’re having a positive impact on the environment, and the local and organic food movement.

The young farmers of America face many challenges but size and success only come with time and experience. With the backing of the National Young Farmers Coalition, it is hoped that the increase of local, sustainable farms can eventually support the national demand.

Read the full article by The Washington Post here.

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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