Just like with any industry, agriculture is always looking to the future. If the industry is to survive, we need to get new blood into the system. However, new farmers are finding more and more challenges to doing just that. The economy makes it hard to sometimes get financing and grant programs only go so far. Also, there isn?t a lot of land available for them to get a start.
There is no reason for the next generation to despair, there are opportunities available. You just need to be willing to look in some different, and sometimes unconventional places.
Audio: Full Interview with Kate Edwards
During the Iowa Farm Bureau?s annual convention, I had the chance to talk with Kate Edwards. She is one of those young producers who has found a niche in the production of vegetables. She was there to host an educational session for many of the event?s younger attendees. Edwards says while she comes from family members who farmed, she is a generation removed because her parents didn?t stay in the business.
Edwards tells us about her 16-acre farm near Solon, Iowa. It is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation that supplies about 200 ?subscribers? with vegetables for the year.
Because Edwards does not qualify for the typical crop insurance programs, the subscriptions offer her the safety net her operation needs.
Edwards says beginning farmers need to be willing to think outside the box. If they do, they may be more successful than they may anticipate.
Edwards says while many farm organizations, like the Iowa Farm Bureau, have great educational tools available, get to know your local Farm Service Agency employees. They can be a great resource as well.
It is good to see so many opportunities available to keep the business of agriculture growing. We all need to help encourage young farmers to find a place to get started.