More young people see opportunity in farming

Recession, desire to be own boss, interest in food has more young people going into farming

Associated Press
More young people see opportunity in farming
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In this photo made Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, Laura Frerichs, 31, is shown with husband Andy carrying infant son Eli on her organic farm outside of Hutchinson, Minn. Frerichs discovered her passion for farming about a year after she graduated from college with an anthropology degree and is among more people in their 20s and 30s going into farming. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- More young people seem to be going into farming.

New numbers on farmers won't be available until after the next agricultural census is done next year, but those in agriculture point to some good signs: Enrollment in university agriculture programs has increased, as has interest in farmer-training programs.

Faye Jones works with new farmers in Wisconsin. She says some farm tours where would-be farmers can learn and share information are drawing as many as 100 people.

That's good news to the government. More than 60 percent of farmers are over the age of 55, and the Agriculture Department's Poppy Davis says without young farmers to replace retirees, the nation's food supply could be vulnerable.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has called for 100,000 new farmers within the next few years.

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