Farmers under 35 on the increase

IMG_7941A recent article in the Washington Post gives us a glimpse of the artisanal effect on farming.

Caitlin Dewey writes:

[A] growing movement of highly educated, ex-urban, first-time farmers […] are capitalizing on booming consumer demand for local and sustainable foods and, experts say, could have a broad impact on the food system.

For only the second time in the last century, the number of farmers under 35 years old is increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest Census of Agriculture. Sixty-nine percent of the surveyed young farmers had college degrees — significantly higher than the general population.

This new generation can’t hope to replace the numbers that farming is losing to age. But it is already contributing to the growth of the local-food movement and could help preserve the place of midsize farms in the rural landscape.

“We’re going to see a sea change in American agriculture as the next generation gets on the land,” said Kathleen Merrigan, the head of the Food Institute at George Washington University and a deputy secretary at the Department of Agriculture under President Barack Obama.

Dewey, Caitlin. 2017. “A Growing Number of Young Americans Are Leaving Desk Jobs to Farm.” Washington Post, November 23, 2017. See the full article here.

[Thanks to Nathan and Michelle Howell, of Need More Acres Farm, for the family photo. Details here.]

Grant McCracken

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