The “Future of Farming” immediately conjures thoughts of auto-piloted drones, advanced self-driving tractors and maybe even robots working the fields. While that sounds cool and great advances have been made in agricultural technology, the reality is that the future of farming lies in our young farmers.
Farming is vital to our nation’s health and security, and remains an in-demand career. In fact, young farmers have never been more essential to the future success of our nation. That’s primarily because nearly 25 percent of all farmers are over 55 years old. Think about that. Within the next 20 years, we could have a major drop off in active, full-time farmers at the same time that food demand and world population will be higher than ever before.
For those reasons and many more, North Carolina Farm Bureau works tirelessly to discover and prepare agricultural leaders to succeed in the workplace and on the farm, and to become knowledgeable advocates for agriculture. We understand that a greater focus must be given to our future farmers and agriculture leaders, and that resources and creativity are needed to keep the future of agriculture strong and steadfast. That’s why we continue to develop and expand our Young Farmer and Ranchers (YF&R) Program.
The objective of the YF&R program is to provide leadership in building a more effective Farm Bureau to preserve our individual freedoms and expand our opportunities in agriculture. The YF&R program is for young women and men between 18 and 35 years of age. It provides opportunities to develop leadership traits, public speaking skills and exposure to current issues in agriculture from state and national leaders. YF&Rs support a strong agriculture by serving on special Farm Bureau committees, county Farm Bureau Boards of Directors, and testifying as experts addressing concerns of farmers and ranchers at public hearings.
This weekend, YF&R members from the mountains to the coast will convene in Research Triangle Park for the annual YF&R Conference. This annual conference encourages young Farm Bureau members to meet other like-minded young farmers across the state, discuss similar concerns and challenges and participate in info-packed breakout sessions that feature great agricultural leaders. At the 2017 YF&R Leadership Conference, breakout sessions will highlight a wide scope of topics including, How to Add Value to Your Farm, A Story of How a Farmer Transitioned from the Military, How to Appropriately and Effectively Address Interactions between Wildlife and Agricultural Operations, and finally, Farm Bureau 101.
North Carolina Farm Bureau is committed to building a strong and prosperous agricultural sector that supports farmers, their communities and stimulates growth in rural communities. The success of our nation, our agriculture sector, and our young farmers are all intertwined. We must all work together to ensure these hard-working young farmers have the opportunities they need to meet the agricultural challenges our nation will face in the next 50 years.