These are fantastic articles from Choices Magazine, and are highly recommended. To view the full articles click on the titles. – TR
U.S. FARM BILL RESOURCES AND PROGRAMS FOR BEGINNING FARMERS (by Suresh Sureshwaran and Stephanie Ritchie)
EXCERPT: Beginning farmer education for adult and young audiences in the United States is nothing new. These programs can be generally traced back to the advent of the 1862 and the 1890 Morrill Land Grant Acts. More comprehensive legislation to address the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers first began with special considerations made in the Agricultural Credit Improvement Act of 1992. However, for various reasons there has been renewed interest and rapid growth in these programs in recent years. These reasons include the rising average age of U.S. farmers (2007 Census of Agriculture); the 8% projected decrease in the number of farmers and ranchers between 2008 and 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009); and the growing recognition that the current social and education infrastructure does not sufficiently address the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers (Ruhf, 2001). Moreover, there is recognition of new populations considering enterprises in farming and ranching that require a repositioning of classroom and outreach education models. Also, several new state, federal and local partnerships with community-based organizations served as a catalyst to facilitate the development of new programs and services.
POTENTIAL CHALLENGES FOR BEGINNING FARMERS AND RANCHERS (by Mary Clare Ahearn)
EXCERPT: There are many preconceived notions of beginning farmers. The main reason for the diversity of views is because they are a very diverse population—in many ways more diverse than the established farmer population. So, one’s characterization of beginning farmers depends on where the blind man has touched the elephant. There is also diversity in views because data are not frequently and widely available to characterize the population. Moreover, there may be complex relationships at work, not easily verified, about the importance of the beginning farmer population to larger issues, such as national food security. It is worth considering what can be quantified.
ALSO SEE: Theme Overview: Innovations to Support Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (by Dawn Thilmany McFadden and Suresh Sureshwaran); A Representative Farm Approach to Outreach with Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (by Peter Zimmel and Lori Wilcox); and Approaching Beginning Farmers as a New Stakeholder for Extension (by Lee Meyer, Jennifer Hunter, Ani Katchova, Sarah Lovett, Dawn Thilmany, Martha Sullins, and Adrian Card)