According to the U.S. Labor Department, the average age of farmers and ranchers is 58. This is not because farmers are among America’s oldest workers – their average age has been growing rapidly for approximately 30 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Census of Agriculture. The Census, which is published every five years, shows that during the past 30 years the average age of U.S. farmers has grown by nearly eight years, from 50.5 years to 58.3 years.
This is a concern for the future of farming since there are fewer individuals choosing farming as an occupation than before. While there are certainly many exceptions, a growing number of young adults are going off to college and pursuing other careers, and not staying (or coming back after college) to work on the family farm.