FUTURE FARMERS: Agriculture Opportunities
Twenty-eight-year-old Jeff Westrum has been farming alongside his father Kevin since he was a boy.
“I’ve always had a love for farming. I’ve always had farm toys,” said Jeff.
After college, and a few years in AG business, it was a no-brainer to return to the family farm.
“I got a taste of other stuff, but it didn’t take long to come back to this.”
For some, getting into farming isn’t easy. Buying land and equipment can be prohibitive.
“I’m not saying it can’t happen, but you really have to work hard to make a go of it,” said Brian Waddingham, the Executive Director of the Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers.
Statistics show the average age of an Iowa farmer is 57 years old and half of all U.S. farmers are likely to retire in the next 10 years.
That’s why Waddingham’s says it’s crucial to make farming a reality for future generations.
“Farming, whether it’s livestock or crops is the backbone of Iowa’s economy.”
Groups like the Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers work with younger folks, linking them to retiring farmers hoping to keep their land productive.
“There’s certainly an opportunity to get started in farming via that route.”
While agencies like the USDA provide low interest loans for young farmers to purchase the land and equipment they need to begin planting.
“I’ve heard of a few people using the young farmer loan to try and buy land and it usually works,” Westrum told Channel 13 News.
While everyone wasn’t raised on the farm like Jeff Westrum, there are opportunities for folks hoping to begin their future in the industry.