Young Farmers: Growing Their Future And Ours
-- Thought Leadership
Quite possibly better educated and prepared than any generation before them, young producers still face major challenges in getting off the ground. For this FarmLife Special Report, we asked several young farmers about their challenges and goals, then listened as each spoke of hard lessons learned, their passion for farming and hopes for the future.
Three families are featured in profile stories and video interviews: the Skobergs, who grow peas, wheat and canola on Twin Oaks Farm in Lougheed, Alberta; the Robertses, who farm and run a fencing and custom gate business in Pittsylvania County, Virginia; and the Boeres, whose dairy operation is in Modesto, California. Each has a unique story to tell, including the innovative ways they have made a life and a living on the farm.
For example, while Will and Becky Roberts run a small cow/calf operation together, she is also assistant principal at the Pittsylvania Career and Technical Center, and he owns and operates a fencing company. Laura Boere, who runs an organic dairy with her father, John Boere, in California, advises young people who want to enter farming to get hands-on learning by working for an older farmer first. As a fifth-generation farmer, Dan Skoberg in Alberta farmed with his father until Ken died from cancer in 2013. Today, Dan and Shelly and their blended family of five children live on and work the farm; she brings both crop and livestock expertise from her on-going job as a customer account manager with United Farmers of Alberta.
To go along with the family profiles, the Young Farmers Special Report includes advice from parents, resources to help young and new farmers, a look back at our previous special report and more.
In the article “Raising Farmers,” father Jerry McDonald and son Jon—now a father himself—offer advice on preparing the next generation for a career in agriculture. You’ll also read about how the National Young Farmers Coalition works to connect beginning farmers with resources, such as information on loans and subsidies.
See the entire special report, including video interviews: Young Farmers: Growing Their Future And Ours.