Beginning Farmers are not Necessarily Young Farmers

Published on: 22:03PM May 23, 2013

The USDA in their Amber Wages April 1 issue had a very interesting article on the make-up of beginning farmers using 2011 data. I naturally assumed that most of these "beginning" farmers were less than 35 years of age.

It turns out that this segment only comprises 14% of total beginning farmers. The largest segment was age 50-64 totaling 40%. After reviewing the article further, it became apparent that these older beginning farmers still had very active non-farm income that allowed them to become new farmers. The younger farmers, on averge had higher income and acreage from farming than older farmers. 11% of beginning farmers under age 35 had sales of more than $250,000 while only 6% of the 35-50 age group had this level of sales and only 1% of the 50 and over group were able to achieve this level.

With the rapid increase in land prices, younger farmers will need to get even more creative in beginning their careers in farming, but we know they will figure out a way. They have in the past and will do so in the future.