Today’s Topic: Cultivating young people’s interest in agriculture

by | Dec 9, 2014


Southern Farm Network logoAgriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

The average age of North Carolina farmers has continued to increase and now stands at 58.9, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture. That’s a concern because the world’s population will reach 9 billion people by the year 2050, and it’s going to take farmers to feed them. We’re going to have to have a lot of youth in agriculture and agribusiness to meet that need, Commissioner Troxler tells Rhonda.

The state has amazing land-grant universities in N.C. State and N.C. A&T State, and they do a wonderful job of educating students about agriculture. But, Troxler says, we have to cultivate that interest early, before students make their college choice.

Last month, Commissioner Troxler attended an event at Northside High School in Beaufort County aimed at getting young folks interested in agriculture, and about 500 students were there. Programs such as FFA and 4-H also are helping to generate interest in agriculture. And the Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agri-Science in Jamesville is helping to grow that interest, too.

North Carolina has more than 50,000 farms of all shapes and sizes, and they all are needed, the Commissioner says. There’s a need for new generations to take up farming when current farmers retire.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss the importance of attracting young people to careers in agriculture.

[Audio:|titles=Today’s Topic for Dec. 9]

Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.