Tags: farming | agriculture | millennials | usda

Wash Post: Millennials Leaving Office Jobs to Start Farms

Wash Post: Millennials Leaving Office Jobs to Start Farms
(Lindsey Bauman/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 23 November 2017 08:39 PM

There is a growing number of high-educated, young Americans leaving the office for the farming fields, capitalizing on fresh and organic consumer trends, The Washington Post reported.

"I wanted to have a positive impact, and that just felt very distant in my other jobs out of college," Liz Whitehurst, 32, told the Post. "In farming, on the other hand, you make a difference. Your impact is immediate."

For just the second time in U.S. Census of Agriculture history, the number of farmers under the age of 35 has increased, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and 69 percent of those surveyed had college degrees, a significantly higher percentage than the general U.S. population.

"We're going to see a sea change in American agriculture as the next generation gets on the land," Kathleen Merrigan, former deputy secretary at the Department of Agriculture under President Barack Obama, told the Post. "The only question is whether they'll get on the land, given the challenges."

The U.S. lost more than 250,000 midsize and commercial farms between 1992 and 2012, and a growing number of young farmers cannot match the total number of those exiting the business, the Post reported, citing the USDA, which found agriculture gained 2,384 farmers between ages 25 and 34 and lost nearly 100,000 between 45 and 54.

The group of the youngest farmers did grow 2.2 between 2007 and 2012, according to the 2014 census data, while most other age groups shrunk by double digits.

New consumer trends for local, sustainable, an organic foods have grown the number of new farmers by 20 percent or more in states such as California, Nebraska, and South Dakota, according to the USDA.

"I get calls all the time from farmers — some of the largest farmers in the country — asking me when the local and organic fads will be over," farm and foods consultant Eve Turow Paul told the Post. "It's my pleasure to tell them: Look at this generation. Get on board or go out of business."

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The Washington Post chronicles a growing number of high-educated, young Americans are leaving the office for the farming fields, capitalizing on fresh and organic consumer trends.
farming, agriculture, millennials, usda
336
2017-39-23
Thursday, 23 November 2017 08:39 PM
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