Stateline Midwest ~ April 2013
For young people, the high cost of getting into farming can be a daunting business proposition. The cost of farmland continues to rise (up more than 20 percent year-over-year in the Midwest), as do expenses related to everything from equipment and fuel to feed and fertilizer.
Such obstacles are often cited as one reason for the aging population of farmers. Between 1982 and 2007, federal data show, the average age rose from 50 to 58, while the percentage of principal farm operators with less than 10 years of experience fell 42 percent.
In the Midwest, varying types of financial-assistance programs are used to help a new generation of agricultural producers get started, and some lawmakers (due in part to current market and demographic trends) have been looking at ways to expand these initiatives.