Putting the Age of U.S. Farmers in Perspective
November 1, 2013
A reoccurring topic of public discussion is the age of U.S. farmers and the impending need to replace them. This post examines changes in the average age of U.S. farmers over time and compares the age of U.S. farmers with that of the U.S. labor force.
The conclusion stated that U.S. farmers are aging, but their aging mirrors the U.S. labor force. The U.S. farmer population is older than the U.S. labor force, but this has been true since 1980 and likely much earlier. The older age of farmers is consistent with farming being capital intensive. It takes time for someone to accumulate the capital necessary to compete in U.S. style farming, either through inheritance or savings or both. While much is written about the need to replace the aging U.S. farmer population, the 1970 period of farm prosperity suggests the current period of prosperity will lead to an influx of younger farmers, sons and daughters of existing farmers and from non-farm backgrounds. This influx will likely occur over a number of years and its magnitude will depend on the staying power of the current farm prosperity. In short, putting the age of farmers in perspective suggests the United States will likely have little problem replacing its aging farmer population.
The full article is available at www.cattlenetwork.com/cattle-news/Putting-the-age-of-US-farmers-in-perspective-228974451.html.
Reprinted in part from Drover's CattleNetwork