Fresh Take: Will Gen-Z Have Enough Farmers To Feed The U.S.?

Food & Drink

Some 39% of the United States is farmland. But, according to the Department of Agriculture’s recently published farmer census, there are fewer farms, and the ones that are surviving are bigger than before.

Another statistic that’s worth pointing out: More than 150,000 farms and ranches use renewable energy, up 15% since the last census in 2017. Incorporating solar panels onto open fields or buildings was the most popular method. That’s progress.

But the demographics reported in the census are less of a cause for celebration. People of color and women remain underrepresented. Despite diversity efforts in recent years, less than 5% of America’s farms are owned by non-white people, the same percentage reported five years prior. Plus, in 2022, 36% of producers were women. The report notes that 58% of all farms had at least one woman with some decision-making power.

Farmers are also getting older, as the average age of American farmers ticked up to 58 years old. Some 9% of all producers are under the age 35. Younger entrepreneurial farmers are moving into the fields, though maybe not fast enough.

— Chloe Sorvino, Staff Writer

Order my book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, out now from Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books.

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Field Notes

It’s stone crab season! The cuts on my fingers were so worth it for these sweet claws.

Thanks for reading the 103rd edition of Forbes Fresh Take! Let me know what you think. Subscribe to Forbes Fresh Take here.

Chloe Sorvino leads coverage of food and agriculture as a staff writer on the enterprise team at Forbes. Her book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, published on December 6, 2022, with Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books. Her nearly nine years of reporting at Forbes has brought her to In-N-Out Burger’s secret test kitchen, drought-ridden farms in California’s Central Valley, burnt-out national forests logged by a timber billionaire, a century-old slaughterhouse in Omaha and even a chocolate croissant factory designed like a medieval castle in northern France.

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