Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Who's doing the organic farming?

We hear a lot of concern about the aging of America's farmers. The average age of a farmer in North Carolina is 57, according to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. But perhaps that tide is starting to turn, at least in the non-conventional agriculture world.

I was intrigued by this report this morning from Chuck Abbott of the Food and Environmental Reporting Network's  daily report, Ag Insider:

"Organic farmers and ranchers tend to be younger, more recent entrants to agriculture and far more likely to sell directly to consumers than the average U.S. farmer, says USDA. Data from the Census of Agriculture  say 26 percent of organic producers are under age 45 - the U.S. farm average is 16 percent - and 27 percent went into farming in the past decade, compared to 18 percent of farm operators. Some 42 percent sold their products directly to consumers; 7 percent is the average. And, organic producers are more likely to invest in solar panels or wind turbines than farmers in general. Sales of organic products rose by 83 percent from 2007 to 2012, said USDA."

My guess is that the growth in farmers' market would account for the very high percentage of organic farmers selling directly to consumers. And those sales and organic sales are starting to show healthy improvements.  

Any farmers out there care to weigh in?