#241. Farm MatchmakingPosted on
A recent article in our local daily newspaper offers a very unique and practical solution to the decline in the number of small family farms. Aspiring farmers are paired up with a farmer in his 50s, 60s or 70s, usually one who doesn’t have heirs who want to follow in his footsteps.
The high cost of getting started is intimidating and very often, overwhelming, to someone who wants to enter the profession. Couple that with the rising average age of farmers, and you may have an ideal solution. From 2002 to 2007, the average age of farmers rose from 55 to 57, and the number of those farmers 75 years and older increased by 20 percent during that same time period.
If the matchmaking is successful, the hope is the established farmer will sell, rent or make some other arrangement that keeps the younger farmer on the land. The broader goal of saving the family farm is realized, but an added bonus is more kids are enrolled in rural schools and more money is poured into the small towns.
This may not be the ideal solution but it is an option that may work for some older farmers. It would be an absolute shame to totally lose our family farms.