Tomorrow's Top Producers

November 24, 2010 03:27 AM

Tomorrows Top Producer Logo FINALThe facts show we have a lot of work to do to educate future producers. Currently, 9.5% of all farms account for nearly 85% of U.S. agricultural output—that equates to a little less than 210,000 farms producing the vast majority of farm products annually. Of that 9.5% of farms, only 6% (12,365) are run by producers under the age of 35, according to the latest USDA Census of Agriculture data.

“We had a 30% increase in farmers over the age of 75 and a 20% decrease in farmers under 25 last Census,” says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “That’s not a trendline you want to continue. I think we really have to address this and become more aggressive about it.”

To foster this effort, Top Producer has developed Tomorrow’s Top Producer, a program targeted to three age categories: teens, twenties and thirties. The program includes expanded editorial content geared to young producers in our magazine and online and our premier Tomorrow’s Top Producer event.

To start with, we commissioned an exclusive survey of producers age 39 and under from the Farm Journal Media database. Here’s a look at the habits and agriculture interests of farmers in each age group. We will use this data as a guide to help educate and prepare the next generation of business-minded producers.

Age 13 to 19
> 19% use a smartphone
> 93% use Facebook
> 28% use ag-related discussion boards
> 71% are interested in pursuing a career in agriculture
> 58% plan to major in an agriculture-related field
> 67% belong to an ag-related organization, such as FFA
> 20% are interested in attending an event with more information about ag careers

Age 20 to 29
> 28% use a smartphone
> 89% use Facebook
> 77% use ag-related discussion boards
> 38% are pursuing a college degree in an ag-related field
> 26% think more information on marketing would help them be successful in their operation
> Magazines and e-mail are the two preferred methods to provide farm management information

Age 30 to 39
> 35% use a smartphone
> 80% use Facebook
> 74% use ag-related discussion boards
> 54% share equipment with another producer
> Top three issues and challenges are access to more farmland, input costs and marketing
> 84% say it’s important to network with other young producers

Top Producer, December 2010

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