Wanted: Young organic farmers and ranchers


THE AVERAGE AGE of farmers in the U.S. is 58 years old. In some regions of the country, the average age is actually much lower (i.e., Maine’s average is 35 years old). In the past, the majority of young people have left the family farm and sought vocational pursuits other than agriculture. Farming is actually becoming the thing to do again as more young people are concerned about the quality and source of our produce and meats.

Locally grown fruits, vegetables, beef, pork, and chicken is on the rise in our communities. Farmers’ markets and restaurants are turning to locally-grown as they are becoming more profitable establishments. Organic production is part of this trend and is also on the rise. In the U.S., it is the fastest growing sector of the American food market place. In the year 2000, total sales from organic food products was $6.1 billion, and in 2015 it grew to nearly $40 billion.

The new “United States Organic Food Market Forecast & Opportunities 2018” report predicts solid growth for the U.S. organic food market through 2018. This report also cites a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14 percent, making it the fastest-growing food market sector in the United States.

How does this impact you as a young farmer and rancher? These trends are not to be ignored, as conventional growing becomes more difficult as we continue to deplete our soils of organic humus.

My question for you today is this: Do you believe you can make a difference and produce higher quality agricultural products by learning more about why the quality of your soil matters? Remember, soil matters!

This column is sponsored by P&H Solutions, Inc.

CREDIT

column by CARSON A. FUTCH

BIO: As the owner of P&H Solutions, Inc., Carson A. Futch assists growers in Central Florida with organically composted soil amendments and other crop growing products. He is a Plant City native and a fifth generation Florida cracker who grew up on a working ranch and citrus operation. He received his B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Florida in 1981. During his 34-year career, Carson has been involved in various management and ownership aspects of production agriculture, harvesting, marketing, and agri-tourism. He has also been blessed to serve on various councils and committees for the betterment of his church, community, and the agricultural industry. For more information about Carson and P&H Solutions, Inc., visit www.pandhsolutionsinc.com.

Posted March 30, 2016