Conflicting Views on Next Generation of Farmers

December 21, 2011

When the United States last conducted a census of the country's farmers in 2007, just 7 percent of the principal operators of the farms were under 45 years old. Depending on what source you choose to read, though, young people are either incredibly enthusiastic about jumping into the world of farming or are relatively ambivalent about the whole thing. 

An article by the AP reports a number of young people have grown dissatisfied with corporate America and see farming as an attractive alternative. Despite the risks (and costs) of operating their businesses, young people want to contribute in a meaningful way to the agricultural system in their country. 

It's quite a different story if you look to a New York Times article published just a couple of months ago. The article looks at the struggles of young farmers who actually started their own operations and used those problems as a way to explain why so few young people wanted into the business. 

Another report by Boston Public Radio looks at some of the young people who took the plunge and why they did. 

The signs are conflicting, but one thing's for sure. With 60 percent of farmers aged 55 and older, the country needs to find the next generation. And quickly.