Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's still important.

I apologize for the lack of meaty posts here (and I mean that in the figurative sense). I'm in a slump where all the food news seems depressing, coinciding with the most grinding work on my thesis. But here's a grain of hope: at least my thesis is on an important topic.

In the United States, the National Young Farmer’s Coalition released a study on barriers for young and beginning farmers in starting a farming career. Building a Future With Farmers: Challenges Faced by Young, American Farmers and a National Strategy to Help Them Succeed surveyed 1,000 farmers from across the United States and found that access to capital, access to land and health insurance present the largest obstacles for beginners.
Land access was the second biggest concern. Farmers under the age of 30 were significantly more likely to rent land (70%) than those over 30 (37%). Over the last decade, farm real estate values and rents doubled making farm ownership next to impossible for many beginners.

“In Nebraska the main barrier to new and beginning farmers is access to land.  Unless an aspiring farmer inherits land, it is very difficult to have access to it,” says William A. Powers, farmer and Executive Director of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society.
There are answers. But is there the will to help young farmers?

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