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Education Businesses United States

More Young People Are Becoming Farmers (axios.com) 117

An anonymous reader shares a report: "For only the second time in the last century, the number of farmers under 35 years old is increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest Census of Agriculture," the WashPost's Caitlin Downey reports in a front-pager with the lovely headline, "A growing movement." 69% of the surveyed young farmers had college degrees -- significantly higher than the general population.
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More Young People Are Becoming Farmers

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  • Just like how the Apollo program got many interested in STEM careers we can see now that our investment in FarmVille has also paid off.

    Now just wait for the uptick in the number of confectioners to come around...

    • Well the difference is that I need to eat three times a day but I really don't care if some guy bounces on the Moon for a few hours.

    • Just like how the Apollo program got many interested in STEM careers we can see now that our investment in FarmVille has also paid off.

      Now just wait for the uptick in the number of confectioners to come around...

      For today's young farmers, STEMs are what is leftover after the good stuff is gone.

  • Not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @10:39AM (#55615269) Journal

    Well, you look at open space offices, the daily grind, lack of job security, the housing market and voilÃ, farming keeps looking better and better. With the whole bio/organic trend, you don't even need to treat animals like crap and all the newfangled technology makes the hard labor much more bearable than a few decades ago.

    It ain't for me but I do get it.

    • It's also not a bad idea to know how to feed yourself either. I grew up in the mid-west and if I had to I could grow and hunt for food, make jelly, can vegetables and fruit, and dig a well.

      I could probably also build a some crude wind turbines to generate power and charge a battery bank.

      • It's also not a bad idea to know how to feed yourself either. I grew up in the mid-west and if I had to I could grow and hunt for food, make jelly, can vegetables and fruit, and dig a well.

        I could probably also build a some crude wind turbines to generate power and charge a battery bank.

        I loves me my technology, but I also do foraging, gardening, curing, and other charcuterie and even canning as a way to connect with the earth. There is also a tradition with my relatives and old school friends of sharing food that we made. That Eastern European thing of breaking bread and all.

        I recently finished up a big batch of Concorde Grape jelly, and do a kickass dry rubbed bacon. Tomorrow I start the fall sausage making with smoked Hungarian hot sausage, sage breakfast links, and patties. I don't

        • It's been a long time since I've done anything like that but my family used to have about half an acre that we would plant every year with beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, tomatoes, and radish. We also had a couple grape vines, strawberries, and mulberry trees. The strawberries and grapes didn't grow well it get's to cold here.

          • I remember wild strawberries in the middle latitudes of Finland being crazy awesome. They were quite a bit smaller than the ones you buy in stores - is that what you mean by grow well?
    • Could be worse than that. Read your post apocalyptic literature.

      If the US or any modern country crashed completely people in the cities are going to die off pretty badly due to crime, disease, hunger and so on. Cut off the water and sewage and you'll get spectacular disease outbreaks in a densely populated urban environment. The average densely populated urban environment in the US has unarmed bourgeois, domesticated types a few days walk at most (or a few hours drive) from an area with a lot of criminals,

      • Probably not a good idea to make career decisions based on fantasy scenarios
      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        If the US or any modern country crashed completely people in the cities are going to die off pretty badly due to crime, disease, hunger and so on. [...] People out in the country with an artesian well, solar panels, a stockpile of food, the land to grow more and a lot of guns to ward off scavengers/hunt game would fare better.

        If civilization really crashed, city dwellers would migrate out to rural areas very quickly. And no amount of small arms would stop that migration. Well funded armies can be toppled by revolution; rural families with a couple rifles each won't fare any better. It isn't like urban dwellers would just stay in the city without enough food and water, they will go to where the cultivatable land is.

        Arguably city dwellers like more government because they're dependent on government. Rural types are less dependent and therefore less keen.

        Those rural types are just as dependent on the government for the protection of property rights. The average small f

      • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )

        If the US or any modern country crashed completely people in the cities are going to die off pretty badly due to crime, disease, hunger and so on.

        Crashed, how? What would completely render the hundreds of cities all across the nation uninhabitable, but somehow allow agriculture to continue untouched?

        Nuclear war? Infectious disease? Robot apocalypse? The countryside is immune to none of those. Nuclear winter will kill crops even faster than supplies will run out in a city (which is about 3 months last I heard). Maybe disease will not spread as quickly, but if it's a really nasty disease with airborne transmission, a multi-year incubation period and

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As someone who got into farming a decade ago, kinda by accident when I wanted a temporary sabbatical from my (computer) research job, I've not seen many downsides. Low (sometimes very) income, but living expenses are likewise low and as long as I don't go for flashy, I can afforded every opportunity to nerd out.

      Low stress, clean air, healthy living. Plenty of free time, and especially time to spend with people I care about (and not in a fb sense). I still like to play with computers and engines and don't h

      • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )

        As someone who got into farming a decade ago, kinda by accident when I wanted a temporary sabbatical from my (computer) research job, I've not seen many downsides. Low (sometimes very) income, but living expenses are likewise low and as long as I don't go for flashy, I can afforded every opportunity to nerd out.

        That's when you're healthy and had a lot of money from your previous job. It works fine in the short term, but not necessarily long term. Health care isn't going to be any cheaper in rural areas, in fact, doctors are paid 25% more in Iowa than New York. Specialists, even more so. Farming equipment will fail and need to be serviced or replaced. You need to buy gas, fertilizer, feed etc. to keep the farm running. Your house needs upkeep, as does your car or truck. You need to save money for contingencies, suc

    • all the newfangled technology

      Let's hope their parents are more supportive of this newfangled technology. Some can't believe that food growing is a wonderful thing [youtube.com].

    • But you're living in a rural area. No culture, no art, no symphony orchestra. 98% white, no diversity. Instead, you get country music, ignorant people, and oxy. Flyover territory. What kind of educated college graduate would ever voluntarily choose a life like that?
      • by mellon ( 7048 )

        I live in a farming community in southern Vermont. We have better access to music here than in New York City, where I used to live. Why? Very high quality musicians, lots smaller audiences. Still plenty of people show up, so the musicians aren't starving, but my piano teacher is someone I wouldn't have a prayer of learning from if I lived in New York, because she'd only be teaching the top students.

        I don't think every community is like this, but it seems pretty common in Vermont. A lot of those fa

    • You have a glorified view of farming combined with a very bleek view of the office and conflated all that with a lot of completely irrelevant things.

      - Open planned offices: Not all that bad. If you need privacy put on some noise cancelling headphones. If you're autistic, don't work in one. On the flip side the social aspect of them is fantastic.
      - The daily grind: Change jobs. No seriously if you described what you do as a daily grind, CHANGE JOBS. My work is fun, takes me to interesting places to meet inter

  • Realization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jfetjunky ( 4359471 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @10:43AM (#55615283)
    Maybe some are realizing there are other paths to life than spending a majority of it sitting in traffic and in a cubicle. Good for them. Farming is no picnic of its own, of course, but definitely a different road.
  • It's because the government is incompetent and young people are smart enough to realize the future of the current system is uncertain. Buy land, learn to live off of it, learn to shoot, learn self defense and protect your land. Learn how to build dwellings and maintain them. Move your family onto the land and live in a self sufficient way. It's not an easy life but when the government is incompetent and influenced by corporations to keep us all in wage slavery, it's not surprising that people would cons
    • Broken record (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah yeah yeah the governement is incompetent corporations are evil bla bla bla. Heard this all before a million times.

      There's a huge difference between acquiring skills and becoming self sufficient on one side (good thing) and becoming a paranoid para-military prepper on the other (bad thing)

      Must really suck to view everything as a threat and everyone as an ennemy. That's not the kind of life I want to live. But that doesn't mean I'm delusional either.

      I really do hope our country gets back to the principles it was founded on

      Not with that attitude it won't. Countries don't simply

      • " Countries don't simply "fix" themselves while their citizens retreat to their bunkers cutting themselves off from the world. " Jeezus H. F'ing... clearly, you have never lived in a rural area. People there don't "cut themselves off"; they know better than any urbanite how much they need the help of their friends and neighbours when they're in trouble. I've lived in urban areas most of my life, and I don't know the names of the people two doors down, or across the street. In the country, you know everyone
        • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

          People there don't "cut themselves off"; they know better than any urbanite how much they need the help of their friends and neighbours

          You're a fucktard for thinking I'm not a contributing part of my community. I most certainly am dipshit. I'm talking about country in the macro sense. You know the one we pay taxes to? Or is that too advanced of a concept for your small brain to grasp?

      • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

        There's a huge difference between acquiring skills and becoming self sufficient on one side (good thing) and becoming a paranoid para-military prepper on the other (bad thing)

        You sir have this all wrong. Yes there is a point to the 2nd amendment whereby you should be able to own weapons to protect yourself in case the government goes apeshit. You do know history right? There have been many oppressive regimes throughout history that were by many yard sticks evil. Some of them even started with good intentions and turn into corrupt, foul abominations. The framers of the Constitution sought to put in place a framework that would hopefully counterbalance most concerns into a st

      • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

        Tired of incompetent governements ? Stop electing incompetent people.

        There is no one worth a shit to vote for.

        As a great man once said, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

        Bullshit. You can't do that when the government is practically owned by corporate America. The sum total of all influence power of normal citizens is minuscule compared to the corporate lobby machine. We need real leadership to stand up.

        Educate yourselves. Get involved. Become more knowledgeable, smarter, wiser, more mature, more rational.

        I already am educated and very rational. Get off your high horse. You're the one who isn't looking at reality and being rational. You're advocating exercises in futility which are by definition completely IRRATIONAL.

        Become a people worthy of the kind of government you demand.

        We already a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We are living in a post-production, post-oil, post-leviathan, post-wealth world.
    Cities are decaying, and increasingly Dickensian.
    Industries have eaten themselves from the inside out.
    Education has become a trap instead of a means of escape.
    Debt is everywhere.
    Wealth is gone.
    Increasingly fragile financial video games cannot keep the whole rotten structure from crashing in much longer.
    Opportunity is dead within these mouldering husks of of a civilization well past its zenith.

    Soon paper "assets" won't matter any

  • Alternate Headline (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Theaetetus ( 590071 ) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['mai' in gap]> on Friday November 24, 2017 @10:47AM (#55615303) Homepage Journal
    Facing Rising Unemployment, Young People Return to Subsistence Living
    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @10:51AM (#55615323)

      Facing Rising Unemployment, Young People Return to Subsistence Living

      It's ironic isn't is? During the Industrial Revolution, industrial tycoons had difficulty convincing people in rural communities to come work in factories. They had to compel them with competitive wages. Now the corporate universe keeps trying to use psychological tricks to get us to digest more and more bullshit reasons to work more for less wages and now it's sparked a trend of fleeing the post-industrial world back to rural communities. The big difference between rural work and corporate work is that you, the individual, reap the rewards of rural work while in the corporate world, it's the Board of Directors that reaps most of the benefits. It's no surprise why people would be compelled to move back to rural communities.

      • I don't even think it's the question of benefits so much as satisfaction. When you bring in a crop, or see your livestock, you know what you've done - you've created food from scratch and you're helping to feed your fellow man. That has to be much more satisfying than the poor saps at, e.g., Wells Fargo - 'great, I just added another eight phony accounts to my customers, that'll make the boss happy!"
    • It's far from the subsistence living of 100 years ago. For a couple hundred dollars, I can buy everything from ebay to enjoy a modern comfortable life and for a couple hundred more, set up a large in home entertainment center, bigger than an entire NY apartment. $7k will buy me 8kw/240v solar power.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @10:47AM (#55615305)

    Modern Farming is often more Technically advanced then many of these so called Tech jobs. Automated Robotic Systems, Big data collections, Bio and Chemical Engineering... Farmer Brown needs to be just as Apt in front of a computer as he does with a pitchfork.

    Farming may be tough work, but it is challenging hands on career that for some people is very reward. Me growing up on a Farm, it is the furthest thing I would like to do, but for others it is a good rewarding job.

    With the rise in interest of more natural farming, and locally sourced food etc... It would make sense that a renewed interest in farming is becoming more popular. Besides a lot of people think we are going to hit some big disaster that will knock us to the dark ages, so being a farmer is a good place to be.

    • Not your father's farming, but equally as hard. Actually even harder as the farmer is now not only expected to put in massive effort farming, but along with the technical stuff you mention you need to be a savvy business man, no longer selling goods on a local market but rather signing large scale contracts for goods, often managing staff (to use the term kindly), not to mention juggling service agreements with every bloody vendor attempting to lock you out of their black boxes.

      I'll be honest. I don't have

      • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
        Yeah, despite the common rhetoric, today's citizen knows alot more about alot more things then past citizens. We have to know how to do things because someone is constantly trying to scam us.
  • by TykeClone ( 668449 ) <TykeClone@gmail.com> on Friday November 24, 2017 @10:47AM (#55615307) Homepage Journal
    The average age of farmers in the US is about retirement age.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not a real article. Just a few quotes from another article. The original WP article is also full of holes. It is comparing the number of new, very small farms of today to the multi-generational, larger farms of previous generations. Apples to oranges. I lived in New Hampshire for a while. Right outside Hanover. Half the people I worked with at the tech firm had small farms, raised chickens, goats, vegetables, and grain. None of these would have been counted in this article as farmers.

    The most import

  • Money Problems? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 )
    Unless someone gives you a productive farm what sense does it make to acquire one? A farm is like a roulette wheel. Once in a rare while you hit a jack pot but usually something bad ruins your season. Drought, bugs, wilt and fungus and all kinds of changing laws and tax rates stack the deck. So not only must a farmer fight the obvious problems but new farmers also have to pay off mortgages, pay for major machinery etc..Farming is a hard path to survive. Odd ball types of farms may do better than tra
  • by Anonymous Coward

    In the current job market, farming is probably the easiest job someone can find or start for a young person.
    Not to mention all the new technologies that make it easier than ever before.

  • by bugs2squash ( 1132591 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @11:27AM (#55615497)
    I credit farmersonly.com
  • Sounds like me... (Score:5, Informative)

    by used2win32 ( 531824 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @11:55AM (#55615621)
    I work in the tech industry. I live on a farm.

    We do not have a sprawling farms with hundreds of acres. Our farm is less than five acres. We have two homes, a barn, a shop and cross pastured land. We use the land to raise our own meat. We raise dairy and meat goats and cows, chickens, turkeys, hogs, sheep and lamb. We like to say that our animals were conceived here, born here, raised here, died here, and were processed here.

    We know exactly what is in our meat. Mothers milk, hay, grass, alfalfa, corn, oats, peas, wheat, rye, barley and a few treats like salted peanuts and apples. They also get, do to the naturally low levels in our soil, a magnesium supplement. That is it.

    We have friends who grow the hay and grains we get, some who raise veggies (we only raise a few items). The barter system goes a long way.

    Why do we do it? I find myself looking at the paragraph above, "We know exactly what is in our meat." Do you? After we process an animal, they are kept in one of our six freezers. Have some for us and some we barter/sell from. When they are not used, they are unplugged.

    ...Also, running a small farm, our only "equipment" is a pickup, a four horse stock trailer, and a bobcat loader with two attachments. The cost of entry is not too bad.

    Try it, you may like it.
  • With attitudes like this [pjmedia.com] being pervasive in the SJWs that run HR, who wouldn't prefer a good self-employment option if they can find one they like?

  • No, the three free range chickens and window box full of "organic" wheatgrass you have in your condo don't count.
  • I thought farming as in gaming, coining, etc. :P

  • Farm workers make up about 1.4% of the US work force. At such a low rate, it's not hard for statistical noise to result in an "increase."

  • Organic produce has become more in demand in recent years. Organic farmers have met the demand. The down side of organic farming is that it does require more labor. Maybe we're seeing some of this in the statistics.

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