Are Farms Fading? These Organizations Are Keeping Them Alive

The world’s population continues to grow. There’s an increased demand for food. Yet fewer farm-grown individuals are returning to dairy farms to carry on the family tradition.

Fortunately, through new sustainable practices, the latest technology, and programs like the U.S. Dairy Education and Training Consortium (USDETC), many dairy farmers are working to combat the hurdles aspiring farmers face, while encouraging the next generation of sustainable dairy farmers.

Higher Education

As universities in the southwestern U.S. reduce or eliminate their dairy programs, USDETC thrives by answering a direct need for skilled agricultural professionals who are knowledgeable of current dairy farm trends and opportunities. In the past decade, USDETC trained more than 400 students from 44 universities in the intensive six-week program, with 67 percent of those graduates now employed on a dairy or working in dairy-related fields. Recently, the USDETC was awarded an honorable mention by the Dairy Sustainability Alliance for those efforts.

Youth Organizations

Before the next generation even reaches college, they can benefit from many programs, such as FFA and 4-H, which encourage interest in agriculture in youth. By teaching youth about the agricultural industry, animal husbandry and leadership skills, these organizations directly support the growth and continuation of America’s farms. They also provide students with the resources and connections they need to be successful farmers as they grow up.

By encouraging a love of agriculture in today’s youth and helping them stay involved in the field, these organizations ensure that we’ll be drinking dairy for decades to come.

By Susan Allen

Susan grew up on a farm in northwest Oklahoma and has over 30 years of experience working in agriculture. She has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2007 and has worked with schools, health and wellness professionals and farmers. When she's not working, Susan is usually helping one of her kids with a 4-H project. Learn more about Susan

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