When we think of agriculture and farming many remember the horror stories of foreclosures that brought a slew of Hollywood movies and Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid concerts. While there is no doubt farming had become unpopular and increasing more difficult for small operators, it will always play an integral part in our economy and politics.
We eat, we wear clothes, we smoke, we fish and we love sending and receiving flowers. In 2015, farms added $137 billion to US GDP while all agriculture added $992 billion. Still, until recently, we couldn’t keep them down on the farm.
Millennials Getting Hands Dirty
The good news is farming is becoming cool and appreciated like it hasn’t been in more than a century. Part of this cultural shift has been driven by the restaurant industry and another part by consumer education about nutrients and the benefits of farm freshness.
As a result, there has been an increase in farmers under the age of 35. After 100 years of complaining about keeping them down on the farm, millennials are coming back. Some states including California, Nebraska and South Dakota have reported 20% increase in beginning farmers.
Moreover, 69% of these millennial farmers have college degrees...
|Be careful how you interpret these reports as there are two very distinct categories of younger and/or increasing numbers of individuals farming. There are (usually family) members returning to production agriculture on generational farms efficiently producing large amounts of grain and livestock to feed the ever increasing world population. Then there are the "green" types who aspire to save the world with tiny plots of vegetables and a few free roaming chickens totally ignoring the reality that abandoning production agriculture would also mean having to decide which 50% of the world's population will have to starve.|
Jim Johnson on 12/4/2017 2:42:08 PM
|Good point Jim...I know the farm to table movement sees a lot of that kind tiny plot stuff but I'm hopeful the trend will grew into something more substantive. CP|
Charles Payne on 12/4/2017 3:22:09 PM
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