Millennials Farming More Than Past Generations

Southern Minnesota –The number of farmers over the course of the past century have been declining.  This is due to the overwhelming amount of people nation-wide that have been moving out of rural regions and into metro areas.

For young people, that trend is changing.  For only the second time in the last century, the number of farmers under the age of 35 has increased by 2%.  This means more Millennials than ever are ditching the rush of the city for the life of a farmer.

“The millennials or that particular age group I see much more as wanting to be entrepreneurs have their own business, farming being a business, and want to be their own boss.  Kind of set their own direction and own fate so to speak,” Yvonne Simon of the Minnesota Farm Bureau said.

It is not just a national trend however.  Local farmers have been noticing the trend as well, especially in Redwood County.

“Redwood County has the youngest age of farmers in the state,” Redwood County Farmer Bruce Tiffany explained.  “I think it has something to do with profitability.  If there isn’t a profit to be made it’s pretty hard to maintain a lifestyle so I think Redwood County farmers have figured out how to be profitable.  I think more than that I think there is an environment where people are encouraging younger people to come back.  I think we have fostered the thought that you can succeed here in Redwood County and fulfill your dreams.”

Farmers think there are a couple of reasons for the trend; many older farmers are retiring or about to retire and are actively looking for someone to take over the farm and there are also many grants available for first time farmers to help with the expenses it takes to begin farming as a career.

“Well I think it’s an excellent opportunity,” Tiffany said.  “I think it’s an opportunity for our communities, I think it’s an opportunity for anyone entering agriculture because it’s a wonderful career.”

Millennials heading back to the farm could be a one–year phenomenon or could become a trend, I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to find out.