Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

Cultivating the Next Generation of California’s Farmers and Ranchers

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.

Image of young farmer speaking at event; links to YouTube video.

Young farmer Justin Green speaks at the event as CDFA Secretary Karen Ross and State Board of Food and Agriculture President Craig McNamara listen.

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2 Responses to Cultivating the Next Generation of California’s Farmers and Ranchers

  1. Christy Clayton says:

    As with any profession, the human heart in making a decision toward a profession is like the input/output lines on a graph. Providing monies to the goal of making farming look more viable, more attractive as a profession, falls short of the worthy goal in recruiting young farmers. I am a county agricultural biologist/inspector and over the years I have seen the increasing regulatory requirements that make not only my profession but farming, as well, look uninviting to the newcomer. What happened to common sense, honor and integrity in our government that so many regulations are written to politically placate this agency or that agency, rather than just to do what is right? I must wish you well in your noble recruiting endeavor. Although there are many age-old growers of today, they are still young of heart but, with a tear in their eye, they know the distinctions in the political game of farming and want something better for their kids.

  2. Kim says:

    What Christy says rings so true. Small family farmers are being legislated right out of business. I’ve seen so many multi generational farms sold off because they are no longer viable.

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