Opportunities for Youth in Agriculture

In today’s world of Agriculture, things are changing at a rapid pace. Some farms are becoming larger than ever imagined while others are drawing to an end. Agriculture has come a long way in just the last 10 years due to lower interest rates and higher commodity prices. The days of small scale family farms are beginning to disperse as larger operations take over.

This leaves the questions as to where America’s younger generation fits in to the world of agriculture and what are their opportunities? Today I believe that much of the younger generations are hesitant to pursue a career in Agriculture wondering where they could possibly fit in. David Kohl, a professor from Virginia Tech, stated, “By 2025 70% of land and other agriculture assets will have turned over.” At some point it will be time for one generation to retire from farming and another generation will be expected to pick up right where it was left.

In working in Agriculture financing I have had the opportunity to see the transition of farm ground from father to son or a first time farm buyer. Our Bank along with FSA offers the Beginning Farmer Program which allows a first time farm buyer to purchase Ag real estate at lower interest rate along with a reduced down payment. The key for our youth today is to start making smart business decisions early, whether it is saving for a down payment on a farm or acquiring your first piece of farm equipment. At a young age it tends to be more appealing to purchase a new pick-up truck versus putting your money back for a future business investment, but you will thank yourself later.

Many successful farmers today started small and have grown due to quality financial management. Many jobs are being created within the Agriculture support industry as well. With technology continuing to develop the possibilities are endless.

It has become a topic of concern not only within the United States, but worldwide. The World’s population continues to grow and shows no signs of a downward trend. According to the UN News Centre, “the world’s population will reach 9.1 billion people by year 2050.” America’s economy is run by a supply and demand theory, and it’s obvious that the demand for Agriculture is only going to continue to become larger.

Many young Americans are worried about leaving college and not finding a career after they have finished their degree. My suggestion while in college is to at least take a look into Agriculture. There are many internship opportunities that offer college students a chance to work for an Ag company in hopes of being able to hire them after they have completed college. There are many opportunities from engineering to finance and marketing. For children who are at the elementary level or even high school, where are your chances to learn about Agriculture?

Almost every county within Indiana offers a chance for youth in their area to become involved in local 4-H. They offer many opportunities to learn about what is going on in Agriculture today and gives children a chance to find certain topics that interest them. What used to be called “Rural Youth”, has faded away and has reformed as the Young Farmers organization. Future Farmers of America, “FFA, is offered in many Midwest community high schools. These organizations allow our youth interested in Agriculture to network with people in their local communities. -- Submitted by Alex, Bath State Bank