The Average Farmer Is Pretty Old: Here's What the USDA Is Doing About It


| 12/22/2015 8:59:00 AM


Tags: farmer, farming, young farmers, James White,

James WhiteIt’s no real secret that farming in America is an industry in deep crisis. With each passing year, the age of the average farmer increases, and we see fewer and fewer young people adopting this difficult but supremely rewarding way of life. With nothing less than our nation’s food supply on the line, it’s a big problem.

According to the National Young Farmers Coalition, the average age of farmers in the U.S. currently sits at 57 and is steadily rising. There’s only one farmer under the age of 35 for every six farmers over 65.

Considering the important place that farming has in the American way of life, as well as the deep personal satisfaction that comes from homesteading and other forms of small-scale agriculture, this is a serious problem. Thankfully, the USDA is making strides to improve the situation. But will it be enough?

The Roots of the Problem

Part of the problem comes from the fact that farmers and their families, once they retire, have a tendency to remain in residence on the family farm. And more and more, modern farmers are encouraging their children to seek out a living elsewhere, thanks in part to the lack of support the U.S. government is showing farmers these days.

farmer couples

wntr
1/22/2016 7:54:52 AM

We'd have far more farmers and younger men working farms if it weren't for Big Agra.





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