Farmers Are Disappearing: Here's What's Being Done About It

The world population is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, yet fewer people are choosing to become farmers. Which begs the question: Who is going to feed us?

Today’s farmers are keeping hope alive by actively adopting new technology and improving sustainability every day. And with programs like the U.S. Dairy Education and Training Consortium (USDETC), many dairy farmers are encouraging the next generation.

Agricultural Education through USDETC

As universities in the Southwest reduce or eliminate 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, the USDETC has trained more than 400 students from 44 universities in its intensive six-week program, with 67 percent of those graduates employed on a dairy or working in dairy-related fields.

Recently, the USDETC was awarded an honorable mention by the Dairy Sustainability Alliance for their efforts.

Ag Education Before College

Even before the next generation reaches college, many programs such as FFA and 4-H also encourage youth interest in agriculture. By helping youth learn more about the agricultural industry and animal husbandry, as well as 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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