Sen. John Thune of South Dakota recently spoke to the state agricultural community, emphasizing the need to encourage young farmers to enter the farm profession.
For the past several years, agriculture in the US has become an increasingly grey profession. As fewer and fewer young people enter the industry, there are fewer people to replace current farmers as they retire. In some states, the average age of farmers is reaching 60.
An increasingly aging profession could lead to a production disaster. Without replacements for retiring farmers, production could plummet.
Thune’s recent statements to a local Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee addressed the need to inspire a new generation of American farmers. In particular, Thune focused on passing a new farm bill, whose various support provisions and funding elements would help protect starting farmers from natural disasters and could help fund programs designed to lure new farmers into the industry.
What Thune did not address, however, was the role of increased land values in discouraging beginning farmers. With the cost and value of farmland rapidly increasing, it is hard for beginning farmers to secure the necessary capital to purchase new plots. Despite Thune’s farm advocacy, many in the community are hoping the Congress will include new young farmer provisions in the upcoming bill.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer