Acquiring land remains the biggest challenge for young farmers

The CEO of the Farm Credit Administration says startup costs are one of the many challenges facing young, beginning and small (YBS) farmers.

Glen Smith says for producers who don’t have upfront capital, they will need additional sources of income. “In working with lenders, we’ve talked about diversifying off farm income, the need for a vibrant rural economy that provides those jobs so that you’re not possible relying on that ag enterprise entirely.” 

Smith says there are immediate operating loans for machinery and livestock, but acquiring land is a different challenge.

South-Central Nebraska farmer Lance Atwater tells Brownfield high input costs are raising land values making it harder to purchase ground.

But, he says that’s not the only factor. “You’re not just bidding against your neighbor or another farmer in your county, you’re now seeing people out of state or other organizations come in and wanting to also invest in land and it’s really changing the scope of things as we look going forward of who’s actually owning the land.

Smith says despite the challenges in the ag industry, lending to YBS farmers is trending higher.

Smith spoke with reporters Monday at the Young, Beginning and Small Farmers Symposium hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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