CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Studies are showing that fewer young people are being drawn to farming and ranching for a living.
For those who have no idea what it takes to be a farmer or rancher, the AgriLife Extension Center has started a Generation Next online program.
This 12-week, online course walks through important steps for developing a business plan.
“It is meant for either new landowners or those who recently inherited land, and this is one way to help people be productive with their properties, keep land in production and not be developed, and help people make a profit,” said AgriLife Extension Range Specialist Dr. Megan Clayton.
Attracting the younger generation into the farming industry is vital; the hard part is getting started.
“This course takes them through how to set up a new ag business, tax implications, what insurance they need for the place, and basic land management skills,” said Clayton.
The aging problem is only one of several concerns that threaten Texas agriculture. The costs have gone up for equipment, ag supplies and production over the past 20 years.
“The amount of people who are actually farming and ranching today has decreased, and a lot of this is due to lack of experience and profitability. It is very important because these farmers and ranchers are not only providing the clothes you have on your back and the food that you eat, but also they’re responsible for keeping our clean water and clean air for our areas,” said Clayton.
But if new farmers do get in the business, there are increasing monetary rewards, at least for now. Crop and livestock prices have jumped in the past few years.
“By the end of the 12 week course, you will be basically prepared with the basics of a business plan, and you can take that to get a loan for your agriculture business or kind of kick start your operation,” said Clayton.
Many farmers and ranchers remain optimistic that an industry accustomed to challenges will overcome this aging roadblock.
With the cost of farming increasing, aging farmers, and the world population that is expected to expand to nine billion by 2050, there are real concerns about having enough farmers to feed the future.
This online course walks through important steps including business types, tax implications, insurance needs, financial record keeping, setting up grazing and wildlife leases, understanding livestock markets, land management and more.
Each week will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete the lesson and apply it to your situation. A new topic is opened up each week, so YOU choose the time during that week that works best for you to complete the lesson.
Topics are covered by professionals in each field of study. A Generation Next certificate and t-shirt will be given upon completion of the course. The 2019 on-line course will take place August 18-November 9.
The course fee is $120, which includes 12-weeks of expert instruction, a Generation Next T-shirt and completion certificate at the end of the course.