GRAPHIC: Very few farmers are millennials, and, of those, the vast majority are white

Young producers, farmers and ranchers who are 35 and younger represented 9% of all American producers in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Nearly all, 96%, of the young producers were white. This left 14,111 young producers of color in the U.S. Socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, those who have experienced racial or ethnic prejudice, have additional funding opportunities through the USDA’s 2501 program. 

About 80% of the young producers started farming in the last 10 years and about 50% started in the last five years. Most young producers reported a primary occupation that was not farming in 2017. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency offers support to beginning farmers and ranchers through direct and guaranteed loan programs.

Opinion: Feds and the Courts need to deliver certainty on dicamba

So, to summarize, environmentalists hate the dicamba registrations. Farmers hate the dicamba registrations. A huge turnover at the top of EPA is underway due to last November's elections. And the clock is ticking on the start of the 2021 planting season. If that's not a whole bunch of uncertainty surrounding dicamba, I don't know what is. Time is of the essence and the feds and courts need to quickly provide guidance.

Farmers already felt isolated. The COVID-19 pandemic made it worse.

The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated farmers’ feelings of isolation, according to a recent survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation. The percentage who said social isolation affects farmers’ mental health jumped more than 20% in 2020 compared to 2019.

Food supply issues

Back in March, the coronavirus started triggering infection hotspots in and around meatpacking plants, sickening and killing workers. As local public health authorities pushed giant meat conglomerates to close infected facilities, industry executives warned that doing so was “pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply,” as Kenneth M. Sullivan, CEO of Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer, declared in a April 12 press release.

#AgAlerts: Coronavirus; carbon; EU farm program and trade deal

The USDA announced today that 14 states have received waivers to “congregate feeding” requirements. To date, Washington, California, Maryland, Alaska, Utah, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Maine, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia have all received waivers.

#AgAlerts: AI; milk monopoly; farm bankruptcies

Not good news for the dairy farmers. After Dean announced it had filed for bankruptcy, Dairy Farmers of America said it was in “advanced discussions” on an acquisition. A merger would all but guarantee lower income for farmers.

Opinion: Jury still out on whether Costco’s chicken experiment will fly

Costco sells its rotisserie chicken at the back of its stores at a loss to lure customers into the story to buy other things. Up until now those chickens by and large have come from Big Ag poultry producers like Tyson, Pilgrims Pride, and Perdue. But Costco is now bringing chicken production in house.