Annual Florida Farm Bureau gathering seeks to help get younger agriculture industry professionals ‘rooted in agriculture’

This year, the Florida Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Conference will be held July 13-15 at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort in St. Augustine. The conference will offer more breakout sessions and opportunities to learn about how topics affect agriculture enterprises, the Florida Farm Bureau reports. The theme this year is “Rooted in Agriculture,” which speaks to the greater concern of getting more younger professionals, ages 18-35, involved in the agriculture industry.

The Need for More Young Farmers

According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture (the most recent USDA data available), the average age of the American farmer or rancher is 58.3. What’s most disconcerting about this is that since 1982, the age has steadily risen, which means that our primary experts in the cultivation of our food are getting older. What can we do to turn this number around and get the younger generation involved in agriculture?

That is a question that many concerned stakeholders are asking— and trying to answer. The 2012 Census of Agriculture also reports that the 25-34-year-old age group did increase in numbers from 2007 to 2012. The 2007 report compared to the 2012 report showed an increase of 2,384 young ag professionals. Every other age group below 55 years old, however (25 and under, 35-44 years, and 45-54 years), reported a drop in the number of ag professionals. While the increase in professionals ages 25-34 is a silver lining of sorts, the challenge of keeping young professionals “rooted in agriculture” throughout their career is reflected in the loss of involvement in other age groups.

That is why remaining involved in grassroots organizations such as Florida Farm Bureau is essential for continued growth of younger agriculture industry professionals.

More About the Conference for Young Agriculture Industry Professionals

While there are the awards, leadership training sessions, and breakout sessions during the three days, there are also a few special events on the agenda to break things up. On the opening night at 8 p.m., there will be a party featuring the Luke Langford Band. After the breakout sessions wrap up on Saturday, there will be a pool party and cornhole tournament, and at 6 p.m. conference attendees can spend the evening exploring St. Augustine.

Saturday will feature a number of breakout sessions. At 9:30 a.m., our Relationship Managers Patrick Spinosa, a member of Florida Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers, and Blake Averitt will host a breakout session to discuss land loan programs. Other breakout sessions include speakers from the Florida Farm Bureau, Fresh From Florida, and newly elected state Rep. Josie Tomkow— along with Anthony Pedicini— who will be speaking about what people need to know to run for political office.

Our Relationship Managers Clint Tedder and Evan Atchison will also be in attendance, and will be on-hand with Patrick and Blake to answer questions for attendees about our agricultural lending solutions.

AgAmerica Lending has long been a supporter of the Florida Farm Bureau and its young farmers and ranchers who advocate for the involvement of America’s youth in the fields of agriculture. We look forward to the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture, which is currently in its final leg of collecting responses, and hope to see an increase of ag professionals in the younger age brackets. Any and all growers and ranchers who have not yet responded have until the end of July 2018 to make their voices heard.

We also look forward to the Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference, and while you’re there, make sure to say hello to our team.