The 2007 Census of Agriculture revealed that farmers 65 and older make up the fastest-growing age group in the industry. Data from the USDA’s 2012 Census of Agriculture could reveal an increase in this trend over the past five years, causing many to wonder how farming is being passed on to the next generation. Fortunately, long-established and newly formed organizations for young adults are exploring new ways of keeping the legacy of farming alive. You can learn more about one youth “agvocacy” group, Farmers Fight, by reading more below or downloading this new poster from the Tell Me More website.
- The National FFA Organization (Future Farmers of America) has been a champion for youth involvement in agriculture for more than 80 years. Its mission is to promote leadership and positive change in the lives of young adults through agricultural education. The organization has more than 550,000 members nationwide.
- The largest youth development organization in the country, 4-H, encourages youth to “learn by doing” through various programs in the fields of science, citizenship and healthy living. 4-H clubs exist in every state in the U.S. and provide opportunities for children as young as nine years old through those in college.
- Among those in attendance at the 2012 CropLife America and RISE Annual Meeting were two young women from Texas A&M University, Caroline Black and Jasmine Dillon, who helped found Farmers Fight. This student-led organization is sharing the story of modern agriculture and changing the perception of farming and food production in America through educational outreach and various social media efforts.
Young farmers are finding more creative ways of reaching out to wide audiences through the use of technology and social media platforms. The Peterson Brothers, a trio of farmers from Kansas, tapped into viral video fame by parodying popular songs and putting a farming spin on them. Their YouTube videos have generated millions of views and directed media attention towards modern agriculture (with a fun twist!). At a time when farming is rapidly evolving to keep pace with the rest of society, the voices of young farmers will help keep agriculture moving towards the future.