As the agricultural community ages — the average age of U.S. farmers is 58 — the question of who will take over the next generation of farming becomes more important than ever.
The good news is that the future of farming is in capable hands. Agriculture is attracting a new generation of millennial farmers to the fields for these five reasons.
1. Farming Offers Independence
One of the great advantages of being a farmer is that you can be your own boss. To a generation that seeks life outside the cubicle, the freedom to set your own schedule is incredibly appealing. While it’s true that farming is hard work and that most agriculture professionals will tell you there’s no such thing as a day off, the independence it offers is hard to beat.
2. New Technologies Make Farming More Accessible
Today’s millennial farmers have access to resources and farming innovations that their predecessors didn’t. In the past, a farmer might have had to rely on nearby farmers and neighbors for advice. But now, thanks to the internet and social media, farmers of all ages can connect and share tips with people all over the globe.
Online forums abound, with advice on everything from marketing strategies to equipment hacks. Mobile applications help farmers read, analyze and track climate changes and seed requirements. Plus, initiatives like the American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Program can help provide leadership and community for millennial farmers.
3. Grants Can Help Millennial Farmers Get Their Farms Off the Ground
Lack of capital is one of the biggest obstacles to starting a farm. However, thanks to programs like the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans, millennial farmers now have access to financial aid that wasn’t available to previous generations. By simply giving younger farmers the means to buy land and secure equipment, the USDA and other agencies are investing in the future of American agriculture.
4. Farming Allows Younger Farmers to Get Involved in Land Conservation
Farmers and ranchers have been caring for the land for decades. Today, land conservation and stewardship have become points of pride for millennial farmers. Opportunities like the Conservation Stewardship Program encourage farmers to maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and to adopt new initiatives. Goals include improving soil quality, maximizing water conservation and protecting air quality.
5. Farming Is a Family Affair
For most agriculture professionals, farming is a family business. It’s more than just maintaining a plot of land or holding down a job — it’s carrying on a family legacy and preserving a relationship with the family land. Many millennial farmers are motivated to uphold that tradition.
Protect What’s Yours
Farm Bureau offers a range of policies to protect your land and your livelihood. Connect with your Farm Bureau agent today and learn more about the coverages that can benefit you.