2Bits: Who will be growing my food tomorrow?
“In the past 40 years, the United States has lost more than a million farmers and ranchers. Many of our farmers are aging. Today, only nine percent of family farm income comes from farming, and more and more of our farmers are looking elsewhere for their primary source of income.”
Tom Vilsack, Former US Secretary of Agriculture
At a recent Missouri Farm Bureau annual meeting, 2BuyAg Co-Founder Kim Harrison noticed that 75% of the attendees were over the age of 65. Face value, that is a little scary. If we dig a little deeper, we see a next generation of tech savvy and ambitious farmers. This is exciting!
There are many articles written and reports produced on the aging American farmer. Some say the average age will edge past the current 58 years old. Some say the barriers continue to be too great for young farmers to enter the food supply chain. The high cost of land, burdensome student loans, expensive equipment, lack of access to capital, and failed government policy all make it too difficult to follow a farming career.
However, the next generation of beginning farmers is growing and they’re passionate about making it work. Whether it’s promoting more access to local foods or stepping into the commodity markets and exporting high-quality American grown products, these new farmers want to use technology.
Are farmers getting older? Why does this matter? How is 2BuyAg helping?
Yes, farmers are aging and the number of farms is decreasing. As farmers age and retire, there are less farmers with less voices to push for changes in our food supply chains and government policies that would help farming be more viable and sustainable.
Sustainability is critical for young and beginning farmers because it supports their decisions to take risk and start a business—their farms. 2BuyAg supports farmers of all ages (Okay, we request you be 18+ years old!). 2BuyAg farmers join in an online community and marketplace, supporting better access to locally raised and produced food, increasingly their likelihood of having a viable farm.
How does this impact where my food comes from?
We need more farmers, more competition, more diversity, and more choices. More healthy local food choices positively impacts the wellness of our communities. 2BuyAg believes thriving rural and urban communities depend on a good base of both large and small farms. Farms impact the community or communities they serve in various ways by providing employment opportunities, educating youth and adults through agri-tourism, supplying seasonal and year-round nutrient-dense fresh produce and products that need minimal travel time, and purchasing farm supplies from local businesses.
Join the 2BuyAg community and marketplace today! There is no better time than now for farmers and food buyers to get connected! How can we help you? How can we help you set up your 2BuyAg account or profile? Or create a product post?