Farmers Speak: Giving Voice to Young Farmers
Investing in the future of our food
How we craft our food matters. Who crafts our food matters, too. In this third video in our Farmers Speak series, we share the story of a family of organic raisin farmers whose farming tradition is now into its fourth generation. Without a concerted effort to recruit and encourage young people into farming, these types of success stories could become less common in the future.
The average age of the American farmer is 58.3 years. Over the next 25 years, more than one-fourth of U.S. farmers are expected to retire, requiring more than 700,000 new farmers to replace them. However, from 2007 to 2012, the number of young farmers increased by only 1,220.
Why so few young farmers? One major obstacle: costly student loans. A recent survey by the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) found that young farmers with student loan debt owed an average of $35,000. Nearly a third of those surveyed said their student loans are delaying or preventing them from farming.
Clif Bar & Company and the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), a coalition of more than 60,000 farmers, ranchers and consumers, are partnering to raise awareness of America’s young farmer shortage and support federal legislation that would relieve young farmer student debt burden, helping a new generation choose agriculture as a profession. Join us in securing the future of our food.
The Young Farmer Success Act of 2015 would forgive the balance of student loans for farmers who make 10 years of income-driven student loan payments. Clif Bar also is donating $35,000 to support NYFC’s work and shine more light on the student debt reported in the coalition’s survey of young farmers.
Please help us spread the word about the need for more young farmers. Inspire others to take action to support young farmers and, through them, a more sustainable, just future for our food system.