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Young farmers still see opportunity despite down farm economy

Young people remain interested in farming despite the toughest stretch in agriculture since the 1980’s farm crisis. 

National Young Farmers Coalition land access program director Holly Rippon-Butler says those aspiring to be part of the next generation of farmers aren’t deterred by the depressed farm economy.

“I think young people are getting into farming for so many different reasons, and many of them are really seeing it as an opportunity to live and have a career that’s aligned with their values.”

Speaking to Brownfield at the Upper Midwest Farmland Summit in Red Wing, Minnesota Monday, she says results from the most recent Census of Agriculture show an increase in the number of young farmers for the first time in decades.

“It feels like there’s increasing strength in rural communities where young farmers are establishing businesses. We’re seeing growth in our membership and in our network, our chapters, across the country.”

Rippon-Butler says access to land continues to be the biggest obstacle for beginning farmers.  But she says policies at the state and federal level are starting to open more doors.

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