The average age of farmers in the U.S. is fifty-seven years old, but the fastest growing segment of farmers are those age sixty-five and older. This makes for an interesting challenge for the transition of younger people into the industry as producers. There is one big obstacle that young producers will have to overcome.
“I did just a little poll with my class. I teach Ag Financing at K-State and I asked them, how many of you all are planning to go back to the farm or ranch? And about a third of the hands went up out of a class us sixty five, about a third. I thought that was pretty high you know that people had that opportunity to go back.”
Brian Briggeman is an associate professor of Ag Economics at Kansas State University
“Well, I then asked the follow up question. Let’s assume that you could go back to a farm. I don’t care if you grew up on a farm, you grew up in the city, wherever. If you had the choice to go back to the farm, would you, or go to farming and ranching as your chosen profession? Seventy-five per cent of my class said they would.”
The capital requirement is the biggest obstacle for a young person wanting to go into production agriculture.
“They’re tremendous. Back when I was trying to make my decisions of careers and where I wanted to go was around 2000, and maybe a million dollars could get you started farming. A million dollars today won’t even come close to getting you in and making you a viable operation that you can support yourself but your family as well.”
But Briggeman says where there’s a will, there’s a way.
“From a strategy standpoint, for younger producers getting in are crop shares, cash rents, not just buying that very expensive piece of farm ground, working for contracts on the livestock side. You know finding ways that you can help share that cost to get you started. So there are ways to do it.”
I’m Kailey Carey looking at Central Texas agriculture, From The Ground Up.