AGree’s Next Generation Initiative addressed the succession challenge through supporting organizations that train and prepare new farmers and ranchers.
As more American farmers reach retirement age without a succession plan in place, it’s urgent that we develop a strong pipeline to bring the next generation into this crucial career. As consumers express a growing interest in where and how their food is made, producers and supply chains are under increasing pressure to meet higher social and environmental standards.
With all of that in mind, older farmers can’t just pass the torch to their next-gen counterparts and assume that all will be well; the agricultural sector must attract young people with a commitment to farming and ranching who also hold the technical and business skills that will succeed in a dynamic marketplace.
In partnership with the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, AGree’s Next Generation Initiative addressed these challenges through supporting organizations that trained and prepared new farmers and ranchers. In 2015, AGree and New Entry convened a group of leaders that identified a need—and created a network—for learning, collaboration, and advocacy across new agricultural apprentice programs. New Entry was awarded a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to launch their nationwide network, which is now taking action around the ideas that AGree developed.