New ways needed to help young farmers stay in business

With the average age of Colorado farmers pushing 59, young farmers are integral to the future of our food system. Be

new-ways-needed-to-help-young-farmers-stay-in-business photo 1Anna Stonehouse, The Aspen Times via APChristian La Bar of Two Roots Farm sells produce at the Aspen Farmers Market in Aspen on June 24. There has been a mini-explosion of young entrepreneurs getting into agriculture in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley.

Re: “Young farmers tackle problems to come to Roaring Fork Valley,” Sept. 30 news story.

At 23 years old, I moved to Paonia to try my hand at farming. I loved everything about it — except the dismal prospects for my future. Knowing I would struggle to raise a family on a meager farmer’s income, I moved on to more lucrative prospects.

Many young farmers are more dedicated than me, according to your article about a “mini-explosion” of them in the Roaring Fork Valley. And with the average age of Colorado farmers pushing 59, young farmers are integral to the future of our food system.

But to ensure the long-term success of these wide-eyed twenty-somethings, we must find income streams that allow new farmers to stay in the business. Farmers markets and community-supported agriculture are a start, but they’re not enough. Health insurance and raising children require money. Until farming can support these expenses, I fear the careers of many young farmers will be short-lived.

Maia Reed, Boulder

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    Article New ways needed to help young farmers stay in business compiled by www.denverpost.com

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