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Rick Worthington Young Farmers Defy Odds
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: December 14, 2017

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A new generation of farmers is beginning to take it's place across the country. We call them Millennials, and more and more of them are deciding to leave the bright lights and city streets for the quiet life in the country.

And guess what? We need them!

According to the most recent data from the Department of Agriculture, the average age of an American farmer is 58 years old, and that number has been continually increasing for some three decades.

Allie Cecchini with First Generation Farmers says farming was not what she originally thought she would be drawn to.

At First Generation Farmers, we believe that recruiting, training, inspiring, and mentoring the next generation of small and mid-size farmers is vital to the strength of our local communities, the health of our land, and the security of our food supply.

FGF has been teaching and mentoring individual farm apprentices for several years. Now, with a two-year grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, we’re launching Urban Edge Sustainable Farmers (UESF), a formal training and incubator program.

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The purpose of UESF is to provide aspiring specialty crop farmers with the foundational production skills, business knowledge, and confidence they need to establish dynamic and resilient farm enterprises on the urban edge—where ever-growing demand for sustainably grown, source-identified produce presents one of the most exciting economic opportunities in the agricultural sector today

First Generation Farmers is a non-profit that helps people learn more about the farming process... Meanwhile, America’s new generation of young farmers expect to overcome major barriers to their success in agriculture, including access to land, affordable health care, and mounting student loan debt.

the top challenge cited by young farmers is land access, particularly finding and affording land on a farm income. It is also the main reason why farmers quit farming and why aspiring farmers haven’t yet started.

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