As a soon-to-be graduate, the hot question is, “What are your plans for after graduation?”
We ask it out of pure curiosity and maybe even a little nosiness. We enjoy fantasizing about life’s limitless options and take interest in the paths others choose to follow.
But we typically expect a standard answer, often involving a vanilla entry level position or maybe a quick travel stint before entering that entry level position.
“We’re starting a farm,” is an answer that may surprise us, and that is a signal to a severe problem.
Across the country, the farmer population is aging. Without enough younger farmers to fill the shoes of aging farmers, the future of agriculture is unclear. Current farmers are encouraging their children to pursue more stable careers, and lacking family ties to farming presents extremely high barriers to entry, from cost of equipment to knowledge of running the operation.
For many, farming is romanticized as freedom from the corporate confines of a cubicle, being your own boss, and finding peace in nature. WWOOFing, or temporarily working on organic farms, has become a trendy option for younger generations, but committing to a life of being tied to the land remains a different story.