Growing Farmers to Feed Our Future
The average age of a N.C. farmer is 59, and nearly two-thirds of producers are 55 or older. Viewed another way, only 14 percent of the state’s farmers are under the age of 45.
N.C. Agriculture By the Numbers
- At $84 billion annually, agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry
- Agriculture employs 16 percent of the state’s workforce of 4.2 million
- North Carolina has the third most diverse agricultural economy in the country
- N.C. farmers produce more than 80 different commercial crop varieties
- Animal agriculture accounts for 68 percent of N.C. farm cash receipts each year
While the agriculture industry is aging, due in part to fewer young people pursuing farming careers, the global demand for food continues to increase; by 2050, we’ll need to feed two billion more people with diminishing resources.
NC State Extension and initiatives like the Breeze Farm Incubator at the W.C. Breeze Family Farm Agricultural Extension & Research Center, located near Hillsborough, N.C., in Orange County, are addressing a very real need to educate and develop future farmers and agriculture industry leaders, ensuring the long-term viability of our state’s primary economic engine and the availability of fresh foods and goods that feed and support our society.
Farm incubators like Breeze Farm provide resources – such as land, infrastructure and equipment – to which many aspiring farmers would not normally have access or be able to afford. By minimizing the risk of starting a farm business, the Breeze Farm Incubator provides extra incentive for agricultural entrepreneurs to pursue their dream.
It’s a model designed to help address a nationwide issue of attracting young people to careers in agriculture and farming. It also helps increase the supply of fresh, locally produced food, while improving the environment and revitalizing local and rural economies.
Visit the Breeze Farm Incubator website for more information.