Quantcast

Report Highlights Needs of Young Farmers

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

A new report released by the National Young Farmers’ Coalition reveals some of the top barriers facing young and beginning farmers in the U.S. today. Building a Future with Farmers: Challenges Faced by Young, American Farmers and a National Strategy to Help Them Succeed includes results from 1,000 young farmers across the country who were surveyed in order to identify specific challenges and most useful resources confronting those who want to farm.

Access to capital, access to land and access to health insurance were among the top obstacles reported by beginning farmers who took part in the survey. Apprenticeships, local partnerships and community supported agriculture were cited as the most valuable programs for beginners.

“Everyone wants young farmers to succeed—we all know that,” said Lindsey Lusher Shute, director of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, who oversaw the survey. “But no one was addressing this big elephant in the room, which was capital and land access.”

Findings

Some of the report findings include:

  • 78 percent of farmers ranked lack of capital as a top challenge for beginners, with another 40 percent ranking access to credit as the biggest challenge.

  • 68 percent of farmers ranked land access as the biggest challenge faced by beginners.

  • 70 percent of farmers under 30 rented land, as compared to 37 percent of farmers over 30.

  • 74 percent of farmers ranked apprenticeships as among the most valuable programs for beginners.

Although some of the barriers that new farmers face are typical of starting any new business, farming still remains a unique business in many ways. For example, land is an absolute necessity for anyone wishing to farm for a living, and is almost impossible to access in some parts of the country unless handed down from one generation to the next. In addition, development pressure on rural and peri-urban farmland coupled with the current high commodity prices has caused the price of land to skyrocket in many areas of the country. Not only are new and aspiring farmers finding scarce farmland available for sale, but those parcels that are on the market often command a price tag that is out of reach to many young farmers who lack the start-up capital to buy land outright.

Federal Programs

The National Young Farmers’ Coalition hopes that these survey results will be used by U.S. Department of Agriculture and federal policymakers to make policy changes and support programs that serve young and beginning farmers. The barriers presented in this study do much to highlight the need for many critical farm programs that currently exist to help beginning farmers and ranchers get started in farming, such as:

  • Transition Incentives Program, which increases beginning farmers’ ability to access land that is coming out of the Conservation Reserve Program

These important federal programs have provided assistance to thousands of farmers and ranchers over the years, and are considered to be some of the most successful programs targeted directly to those who wish to enter farming.

New Beginning Farmer Bill in Congress

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011, a comprehensive piece of legislation that was recently introduced in Congress, supports reauthorization and adequate funding for all of these programs, and many others that play a pivotal role in supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers. National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and its allies such as the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, will continue to advocate for the inclusion of beginning farmer programs and policies in the upcoming farm bill.

Check here to see if your representative or senators are co-sponsors of the beginning farmer bill.

To read the full report published by the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, click here.

To learn more about the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act, click here.

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

"It would be great to see all the candidates join Elizabeth Warren in taking the No Big Ag Money Pledge," said Citizens Regeneration Lobby's Alexis Baden-Mayer. Peter Blanchard / Flickr / ric (CC BY 2.0)

By Andrea Germanos

Food system justice and environmental advocates on Wednesday urged all Democratic presidential hopefuls to follow in the footsteps of Sen. Elizabeth Warren in signing a pledge rejecting campaign cash from food and agribusiness corporations.

Read More
A new study shows the impact Native Americans had on landscapes was "small" compared to what followed by Europeans. The findings provide important takeaway for conservation in New England today, seen above in a view of areas surrounding Rangeley Lakes in Maine. Cappi Thompson / Moment / Getty Images

There's a theory going around that Native Americans actively managed the land the lived on, using controlled burns to clear forests. It turns out that theory is wrong. New research shows that Native Americans barely altered the landscape at all. It was the Europeans who did that, as ZME Science reported.

Read More
Sponsored
Loggers operate in an area of lodgepole pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest on Sept. 13, 2019 in Montana. As climate change makes summers hotter and drier in the Northern Rockies, forests are threatened with increasing wildfire activity, deadly pathogens and insect infestations, including the mountain pine beetle outbreak. The insects have killed more than six million acres of forest across Montana since 2000. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Donald Trump told a crowd at the Davos World Economic Forum Tuesday that the U.S. will join the Forum's 1t.org initiative to restore and conserve one trillion trees around the world, according to The Hill.

Read More
Wild rice flatbread is one of many Native recipes found in Indigikitchen. Indigikitchen

The online cooking show Indigikitchen is providing a platform to help disseminate Indigenous food recipes — while helping eaters recognize their impact on the planet and Native communities.

Read More

On the Solomon Islands, rats and poachers are the two major threats to critically endangered sea turtles. A group of local women have joined forces to help save the animals from extinction.

Read More