Across the country farmers are making serious efforts to reconnect with local consumers and with their neighbors as a whole. One of the major vehicles for this community outreach is the Future Farmers of America, an organization designed to groom young people for agricultural leadership and educate young Americans about the role of agriculture in everyday life.
In Wisconsin, for example, the FFA puts on annual farm trips for local schoolchildren, with the goal being to give them positive agricultural experiences. Earlier this month, the Wisconsin FFA hosted the 13th annual Day on the Farm, taking hundreds of K-4th graders to a local dairy farm. Members of the FFA were excited at the chance to show their fellow classmates how farms operate and to let them know how important agriculture is in their everyday life. In Missouri, a local FFA chapter won over $8,000 in scholarships and grants from food giant Monsanto for their work in connecting local farmers to their communities.
The FFA also serves an important role in replenishing the retiring farming population. Recent studies in several states show an increasingly aging agricultural community. With fewer young farmers entering the industry, the average age for farmers has increasingly risen. Maintaining a sustainable farm population is vital to the long-term health of American agriculture, so much so that some states offer tax breaks and subsidies for young farmers. In Iowa, however, recent surveys show that nearly 80% of FFA members plan to live and farm in Iowa. Many other state FFA’s serve a similar purpose, preparing younger farmers to enter the agricultural industry.
Follow us on: Twitter
Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer