Young Farmers Remain Positive Toward the Future of Iowa Agriculture Despite Concerns with High Start-Up Costs
05-09-2023 in Events
WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – May 9, 2023 – A survey conducted by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) at the 95th Iowa FFA Leadership Conference found that 65 percent of students would like to farm in the future but have concerns about rising input costs. Of the 251 members who completed the survey, nearly 60 percent live and/or work on a farm.
FFA is dedicated to the potential for career success of its members, as stated in the organization’s mission statement. Iowa FFA members prove this to be true, with 96 percent of respondents planning to continue their education after completing high school. Additionally, 85 percent plan to farm or work in an ag-related field.
Emma Wiebold, a sophomore from Boone High School, lives on her family’s dairy goat farm. She plans to obtain a bachelor’s degree and pursue veterinary medicine. “I’ve raised dairy goats and have gotten to teach others about them. Agriculture can be fun and isa great learning environment. I look forward to becoming a veterinarian and raising livestock in the future,” she said.
Nearly 40 percent of respondents indicated that high start-up costs are a primary obstacle to new and beginning farmers. “One thing that worries me is the rising costs of land,” said Murray High School senior Jacob Fuller. “The rising costs of farm ground makes it so that a young farmer cannot afford to get started in farming. Over the last 10 years in our area, land prices have doubled and it makes me wonder if they will double again in another 10 years.” Fuller lives and works his family’s 1,400-acre farm near Osceola, IA, which consists of a row crop operation and a cow/calf operation. He plans to return to the farm to increase his herd and begin his own row crop operation. “There needs to be some change or there won’t be enough young farmers returning in the next 20-30 years,” he added.
Despite the challenges faced by young farmers, 92 percent have a “positive” or “very positive” outlook towards the future of Iowa agriculture. Seventy-eight percent of students plan to live and work in Iowa.
Meghan Klemme, a senior at Easton Valley High School, is eager for the future of Iowa agriculture. The second oldest of four daughters, Klemme lives and works on her family’s row crop farm and beef operation. Her plans include educating future generations and staying near the family farm.
“After college, I plan to become an agricultural teacher to share my knowledge about agriculture. What better way to better way to do it than through the youth. They are the future of agriculture and it’s very important that they understand what it entails.”
The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers was created by farmers to help farmers raise livestock successfully and responsibly. It’s a partnership involving the Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, North Central Poultry Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Turkey Federation, and Midwest Dairy. The non-profit, non-partisan organization aids farmers at no cost. CSIF does not lobby or develop policy. Farm families wanting a helping hand can contact the coalition at 1-800-932-2436.
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