beginning farmer and rancher opportunity act
Young would-be farmers have a tough row to hoe
by By GABRIEL SILVERMAN in the News Observer
ASHINGTON -- The average age of the American farmer has been rising for decades and now is edging toward 60, as rural youth traded work in soil for work in offices. But even as interest in operating farms has returned, the next generation of food producers faces severe economic hurdles to breaking ground.
High crop prices have pushed land values up 42 percent since 2007, and the economic downturn has limited the availability of credit.
Without significant help from family, neighbors or the government, it's nearly impossible to begin farming, according to Brandon Riffey, U.S. Department of Agriculture farm loan officer for Pratt County, Kan.