Uncle Sam wants YOU to run a ranch.

Posted on December 18, 2012


Just 60 years ago, the average age of American farmers was mid to upper 30’s. As of 2007, the average age had risen to 58.

With 25 percent of American farmers age 65 or older, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has a new goal. He wants to recruit 100,000 new farmers around the country.

It’s an important issue to address. Without young farmers and ranchers rising up to replace the current generation of retiring ag producers, America’s food supply could be in peril.

Issues such as limited land and capital stand in the way, especially after a devastating recession.

But the efforts are forging ahead. According to an article from Southwest Farm Press, the USDA has focused a number of programs on encouraging young people to choose careers in farming. For example, earlier this month USDA staff in Kentucky hosted an event on the University of Kentucky campus educating middle and high school students on agriculture jobs. Scholarships for agriculture students, such as those the Georgia Farm Bureau announced yesterday, are another incentive. And the USDA will make small loans to young people in rural communities to help them start small income-producing operations in conjuction with programs like FFA and 4-H.

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