Aging Farmer Population Threatens U.S. Food Supply

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SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - As the farmer population continues to age, young farmers face land availability and start-up costs as obstacles in becoming the next generation of farmers, according to an article in the April issue of Food Nutrition & Science. This two-part series examines the issues in replacing an aging farmer population, its effects on the U.S. food supply and the steps the government is taking to remedy the situation.

"Farmers over 55 years old own more than half of the country's farmland," says Phil Lempert, founder of Food Nutrition & Science and CEO of The Lempert Report and SupermarketGuru.com. "Hopefully we can expect to see the transfer of farmland in the coming decades that will expand and strengthen small and medium size family farms assuming the land isn't sold off for development. Our nation's food supply depends on this next generation of farmers and the government needs to help them be successful."

In 2002, there were 106,097 farmers in the 25 to 34-age range; in 2007 that figure rose to 106,735. Though a small increase, at half a percent, it demonstrates that government-sponsored programs can make a difference.

Also in the April edition of Food Nutrition & Science, an article reviews the results from a study suggesting there's no correlation between food coloring and hyperactivity in children; however, the FDA Food Advisory Committee does suggest that more studies occur.

In addition, another article details a United Nations Report encouraging poor nations to implement agroecology to improve food supplies. As a set of agricultural practices, agroecology seeks ways to enhance agricultural systems by imitating natural processes.

Lempert says, "The United Nations estimates the world population will reach nine billion by 2050, making the task of feeding the world even more of a challenge. Food Nutrition & Science continues to cover this topic because it's a global issue. With food costs rising and supply diminishing, the time is now to start growing and planning for the future."

The April issue of Food Nutrition & Science also includes an interview with Chef Jean Francois Meteigner; a bylined article by Georgia Orcutt, program manager of Oldways, an internationally-respected non-profit that helps change the way people eat through positive and practical programs grounded in science and tradition; an interview with Wyoming farmer John Flocchini, who raises bison on over 50,000 acres on his family's ranch; and an article on how one food manufacturer determines what consumers want.

Food Nutrition & Science is a free monthly newsletter with articles relating to retailers, manufacturers, farmers, nutritionists, educators, government agencies and more. It's also a newsletter that services members of the National Grocer Association and offers breaking food news and articles on food safety and industry-wide green initiatives. Food Nutrition & Science is committed to covering topics and trends that interest anyone with a stake in the food industry including supermarket retailers, food manufacturers and consumers. Each issue contains an interview with a farmer.

For more information or to subscribe to Food Nutrition & Science, please visit www.FoodNutritionScience.com.

SOURCE: Food Nutrition & Science

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