The recent meeting of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture (Sept 28) to discuss the recruitment and support of young farmers was a humbling experience. While there is great inspiration to be found in our next generation of farmers, there is also the realization that significant challenges lay before them.
The Obama Administration has set a goal of having 100,000 new farmers over the next five years. This is an initiative that California should strongly embrace. Our state has a wide variety of public and private programs that promote agricultural education, mentorships and hands-on training for those individuals interested in farming. Yet we can do so much more.
As part of the ongoing Ag Vision process, we hope to better train and equip our next generation of young farmers as well as help ensure that farms and ranches can be passed down to new generations. These are issues that I care deeply about and are important to the long term viability of farming within our state. We need more apprenticeships, more farm incubators, and more educational and training resources to meet the challenges ahead – we have the passionate individuals with the desire to farm.
The discussion at our meeting was very enlightening. Click here or on the image below to see a video from the event.