Report Highlights Multiple Barriers Facing U.S Young Farmers, Including Lack of Technological Advancement
A shortage of technology is a major problem in agriculture and there is a more serious concern ‘not in the field’ said National Young Farmers Coalition.
In the report published earlier this month, the organisation listed several barriers that young farmers are facing. including access to land, student loan debt, shortages of skilled labor, and affordable health insurance.
However, the survey warns that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) may be the biggest obstacle.
One of examples NYFC gives is that many USDA programs still need to be applied for via paperwork.
‘There is an expectation among young farmers that they will be able to do paperwork, do reporting, and fill out applications online. It is definitely a different process at the USDA that is unfamiliar to many of the young people we work with.’ said Lindsey Lusher Shute, NYFC executive director and cofounder.
In the survey, 40% of respondents said that ‘burdensome’ paperwork troubles them to get involved in other projects which could ease the pressure from other demands like debt, training, and access to credit.
Moreover, the analogue system is another key part of the USDA requiring improvement, as young farmers have contacted the internet since their childhood.
‘They order seed and stock online, pay vendors with apps, track sales and expenses using programs like Quickbooks, market their products on social media, and implement automated irrigation systems.’ Said Shute.
NYFC also suggests that ‘creating a a full-service online portal’ could ‘give Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff more flexibility to work directly with farmers’ and ‘put FSA on track to attract the customers of the future.’
The figure shows that American young farmers are increasing have increased in recent years, yet crucially it doesn’t tally with the number aging out into retirement.
To explore how Challenge Advisory’s Talent practice can help you overcome your challenges, follow the link here.