Land availability top young farmer concern
Securing adequate land to grow crops and raise livestock was the top challenge identified again this year in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual outlook survey of participants in the Young Farmers & Ranchers program. That challenge was identified by 22% of respondents, followed by economic challenges, particularly profitability, which was identified by 15% of the respondents.
“For young people today, securing adequate land to begin farming or expand an established farm or ranch is a major challenge,” said Jake Carter, AFBF’s national YF&R Committee chair and a farmer from Georgia. “Another major challenge is figuring out how to excel—not just survive—in today’s economy,” he said.
Other issues ranked as top concerns by young farmers and ranchers included burdensome government regulations and red tape, 12%; availability of farm labor and related regulations, 9%; water availability and urbanization of farm land, 7% each; and health care availability and cost, 6%.
The 22nd annual YF&R survey revealed that 91% of those surveyed are more optimistic about farming and ranching than they were five years ago. Last year, 90% of those surveyed said they were more optimistic about farming compared to five years ago.
The 2014 survey also shows 93% of the nation’s young farmers and ranchers say they are better off than they were five years ago. Last year, 83% reported being better off.
More than 91% considered themselves lifetime farmers, while 88% would like to see their children follow in their footsteps. The informal survey reveals that 87% believe their children will be able to follow in their footsteps.
The majority of those surveyed—69%—consider communicating with consumers a formal part of their jobs. Many use social media platforms as a tool to accomplish this. The popular social media site Facebook is used by 74% of those surveyed. Twenty-two percent of respondents said they use the social networking site Twitter, 16% have a farm blog or webpage and 13% use YouTube to post videos of their farms and ranches.
“Use of technology and all the tools at our fingertips to not only improve production practices on the farm but also to interact with consumers–our customers–among young farmers continues to grow,” Carter said. “Use of social media platforms, personal outreach through farm tours, agri-tourism, farmers’ markets or a combination of these methods is where we’re at today,” he added.
- Phytech reveals its PlantBeat service to U.S. farmers
- Accurate plant tissue analysis starts at the crop sample
- Livestock futures tumble Wednesday morning
- Agreement to deliver real time data and precision analytics
- Trading firms' dispute with Monsanto threatens Brazil's soy sales
- Invasive weed increasingly taking hold in Kansas