It’s no secret that the average age for farmers in SC is about 59 and there are several efforts underway to attract more people to agriculture, both young folks and those looking for a new career in mid-life.
“Clemson University has a program called ‘New and Beginner Farmer Training’ and I spoke at their closing ceremonies. There are several groups represented in that one group and it was fascinating to spend time with them.
The recession has turned a lot of people to farming as it was the bright spot economically over the last four years. Some of the young folks really had no connection to agriculture and have just come over. There are others who have a successful career and want to look at farming as a second career, as well as some retired people who want to be a part of farming.
Most will be on the smaller side where the cost to get into it wont be at the levels that we have with the equipment based row crop farming. It might be niche vegetables or free range poultry for example.
I got some good take away information of what their priorities are. We will continue to have dialog as they get into farming and we want to understand how we can support new farmers.
A person who has had a successful career in another business brings management experience and a lot of savvy that might help them in marketing. We hope to keep them in a group dynamic so they can continue to share information and help each other.”