I think that comment must be pretty old. Twenty years ago farmers were an old lot but at least around our farm where I grew up, they are all younger than I or if older, have younger kids that are doing most of the decision making. Back when I was younger, there was a farm crisis and farming wasn't a guarantee in life and was actually pretty close to poverty and so my generation left for other work. With the increasing affluence of modern day farmers, it is attracting kids to stay on the farm and I think that makes a lot of difference.
Ed, you made me go do a little research. The USDA apparently does a Census on Farming every five years. The last one was done in 2017 (which would put the next one in 2022). 2017 lists the average age of a farmer at 57.5 - a bit below the 60 years old that Salatin lists, but not much (to be fair, the quote did not give a year).It is good that this may be reversing, and certainly I think it has an appeal that it did not to my generation either. Hopefully that can reverse the "serfdom" trend a bit.
It will only continue reverse as long as our "government" stays out of it and stops taxing farmers to leave their land to the younger generation.
That is completely true as well Linda. I wish more of our officials would get this.
Knowing your research mentioned above, I suspect it varies by region perhaps tied back as our westward expansion. In my particular area, all the farmers that were in their 60's were 25 years ago or right now. Those right now have all shifted the leadership burden onto their children but still play a part. I would guess going east shifts those generations further to the left and if one goes west, shifts those generations to the right a bit. Another probably more important factor is just that farming is quickly becoming a young person's game. Farms keep getting bigger and diverse requiring more physical labor and stamina to keep it all going. Running a farm into our 80's is probably no longer physically possible anymore.
Ed, I suspect it would too (I will now look for the 2022 edition!). I think there maybe two paths: the larger and larger farm, which you reference, and then the growth of smaller farms, like the project SKIP which Leigh at Five Acres And A Dream had mentioned.
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