According to the 2017 National Young Farmer Survey, America’s new generation of young farmers expect to overcome major barriers to their success in agriculture, including access to land, affordable health care, and mounting student loan debt; but success will require deliberate policy change at all levels of government. The survey was conducted by the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) in partnership with Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of Sustainability at George Washington University and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.
The survey, conducted with 94 partner organizations, collected data from 3,517 current, former, and aspiring U.S. farmers under 40 years of age. The top challenge cited by young farmers is land access, particularly finding and affording land on a farm income. It is also the main reason why farmers quit farming and why aspiring farmers haven’t yet started.