With the American agricultural industry facing a grim demographic cliff in the next generation, an innovative program is seeking to match potential and beginner farmers with large landowners.
Across the country, agriculture is an increasingly aging profession. With fewer and fewer young people entering the profession, farmers’ average ages are shooting up to worrying levels. In some regions, the average age of local farmers is pushing 60.The numbers are bad enough that some officials are worried about the ability of the farm sector to replaces losses due to retirements.
One of the major obstacles to new farmers looking to enter the profession for the first time is access to credit. Often lacking significant collateral, many beginner farmers find it hard to qualify for the loans necessary to purchase farmland (whose value has been steadily increasing).
In about 25 states, local land conservancies and farm preservation programs have created systems that link new farmers up with retiring landowners looking to sell. Often these owners are willing to offer their land at a significantly more affordable price to young farmers eager to enter the industry.
While the federal government is looking to tackle this issue (Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has announced a goal of creating 100,000 new farmers over the next few years), these local initiatives have proven invaluable to young farmers taking their first steps into the profession.
To learn more about agricultural financing opportunities contact a Farm Plus Financial representative by calling 866-929-5585 or by visiting www.farmloans.com.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer