Aging farm population opens door for beginning farmers
WASHINGTON – In celebration of the United Nations’ 2014 International Year of Family Farming, the National Farmers Union (NFU) is highlighting opportunities for interested individuals to get into farming. According to the U.S. Census the average age of a farmer in the United States is 57. This is up from 54 in 1997. The percentage of farmers over 65 has increased by about 10 percent since 1969.
“With an aging farm workforce, there is a real need for new, beginning and transitioning farmers and ranchers to enter the agriculture sector,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “At the same time, as soldiers return home from tours abroad, they are looking for new employment opportunities. Farming is an excellent way for these men and women to transition back into the workforce.”
“NFU supports programs for beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as veterans, in order to ensure the future of our industry,” said Johnson.
National Farmers Union’s Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) develops and encourages agricultural leaders from all backgrounds. Leadership training and farm management skills are taught to promising individuals eager to enter or expand their agricultural knowledge. According to the Farmer Veteran Coalition, as of 2009 there were 21.9 million veterans in the United States, including 1.5 million female veterans.
To support our efforts, we encourage everyone to get involved and join their local Farmers Union. Information can be found at www.nfu.org/membership.