The Farm Financial Standards Council - Part 1

Published on: 09:38AM Jul 31, 2013

he annual conference for the FFSC got started this morning with a presentation by Dr. Tom Gillaspy a retired Minnesota State Demographer. He led off the presentation by stating that demographers are even more boring than accountants. I was almost insulted by this comment until I decided to consider it a compliment since he was fairly exciting.

One key stat he mentioned is that our people coming into the workforce are at an all time low. Instead of the rule of thumb that 120,000 people need to added monthly to workforce to keep employment steady, the actual number now is closer to 90,000.

In addition, record numbers retired last year and this years pace is even greater.

Farmers age 45 and over have increased from about 35% of total farmers in 1978 to almost 60% now. This aging population is not being replaced by younger operators.

Although the US issue with an aging workforce is not good, it is even worse in Japan and Western Europe. China is younger than us, but in three years, they will be older than us and will start declining in population soon when India will surpass them in population.

Much of Latin America will have a birth rate lower than the United States so this trend will start to affect them. The only place in world with no drop in birth rates is sub-saharan Africa.

Although the presentation seemed a little gloomy at times, we are still in good shape.