At HMI we work hard to make sure that more young farmers and ranchers are being trained in regenerative agricultural practices. Any industry needs young people to learn the required skills and knowledge to keep that industry live and vital. Unfortunately, the agricultural industry’s average age has been rising around the world and particularly in the U.S. as less young people see farming or ranching as a viable way to make a living.
However, good news is here! HMI, along with many other agriculture advocacy groups, partnered with the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) in their 2017 survey of young farmers. Building a Future with Farmers II just was published and for the second time since the last century there is actually a slight increase in the number of young people coming into agriculture. In fact, a recent Washington Post article noted that a growing number of young Americans are choosing to leave desk jobs and get into farming instead.
While the rise of 2.2% is small, it is a positive trend. The NYFC report analyzed the survey results from 3,517 U.S. farmers under the age of 40 which showed that the key concerns for that group are: Access to land, student debt, labor, and health care. With 2/3rds of American farmland owned by someone over 55 years of age and over 100 million acres of farmland set to change ownership in the next 5 years, the need for a new agricultural workforce is critical.
Of particular interest, the survey group showed that 69% had college education, 75% had not grown up on a farm, 60% were women, and 75% described their agricultural practices as sustainable.
HMI is proud to support this growing movement of young farmers and ranchers through our online training programs, particularly our New Agrarian Online Training Program and through the many scholarships we have provided for this age group. Click here to learn more about HMI’s New Agrarian Online Training Program we developed in partnership with the Quivira Coalition and what young people are learning to improve the resilience of their farms and ranches.
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