30 Sep '11, 8pm

USDA offers help to beginning farmers. Will it be enough?

USDA offers help to beginning farmers. Will it be enough?

Lindsey Shute and her husband run Pistil Farm and Hearty Roots Community Farm in Tivoli, New York. Back in the heady days of our youth when anything seemed possible -- you know, 2009 -- USDA Chief Tom Vilsack called for 100,000 new farmers . He even followed it up the next year with $17 million dollars in grants for the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Training Program designed to help educate and mentor young farmers and ranchers. Farmers, after all, are an aging bunch. According to the 2007 USDA Agricultural Census, the median age of farmers in the U.S. is 57 years old and rising. Sixty may be the new 50, but even so, America needs the next generation of farmers to step up. It's not surprising that farming hasn't been a very attractive field for newcomers. New farmers face high land and fuel costs, corporate consolidation, price volatility, and cost-cutting retailers. They...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/food/2011-09-30-usda-offers-help-to-...

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