Agriculture Playing Large Role in Retaining Iowa's Youth

Many young Iowans have plans to take over family farm responsibilities in the future.
Many young Iowans have plans to take over family farm responsibilities in the future.

According to a recent survey released by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, 99 percent of Iowa’s youth have a positive outlook on the future of agriculture in the state. The CSIF polled members of Iowa’s FFA, the state’s youth agricultural organization, to gain insight into the next generation’s view of the coming years.

In addition to having an optimistic perspective on agriculture’s future, 90 percent of respondents said they would like to reside in Iowa in the long-run.

“At a time when rural Iowa struggles with population and the state of Iowa strives to retain its young people, agriculture continues to be a bright spot,” said CSIF Executive Director Brian Waddingham. “The optimism in the survey results align with the questions we’ve received from Iowa farm families who want to bring their son or daughter into their farming operation and grow their livestock and poultry farms, or start raising livestock for the first time.”

Among the young adults who want to pursue a career in farming, about 94 percent of them want to raise livestock. Approximately 48 percent of respondents think that high start-up costs are the biggest deterrent for youth entering the farming industry.

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Young Farmers and Ranchers survey published in March 2015 showed that 84 percent of young adults are more optimistic about the industry than they were five years ago. Approximately 92 percent of the respondents also said that they are better off than they were back in 2010.