Good morning! We hope you had a wonderful weekend. We caught up on some reading…always a great thing! On the menu today, in no particular order.
Student Loan Forgiveness and Farming
American farmers are growing older. The current average age of our nation’s farmer is 58 years old, per the USDA’s 2012 ag census. (The USDA conducts its Census of Agriculture every five years…twice as frequently as the nation conducts its Census of Population and Housing). The same ag census reveals another disturbing figure…only about 6% of American farmers are under the age of 35. This has significant implications for the food system (not only in the U.S., but globally).
There are many barriers for young farmers: gaining access to land (and land is also expensive), water, training…and student loan debt, which is creating larger social and economic challenges of the nation. Could pending legislation help with the student loan piece? Kelsey Lindsey pens an excellent article about advocacy by the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) to help push for the Young Farmer Success Act, which was introduced in Congress last June. Per Lindsey’s piece, “The bill would add farming to a list of careers that receive student loan relief through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.” This important piece appears in Civil Eats; hie thee there.
Target tests food transparency ideas
This is a long read but a #mustread by Kavita Kumar for the Star Tribune. Would consumers be willing to pay less for older fruit? What kinds of information do consumers want about organic and GMO products? Could a new brand with ingredients listed on the front of the packaging – instead of being “buried in small print on the back” – appeal to consumers? Target assessed consumer attitudes at a Minneapolis area store as part of the company’s “Food + Future coLAB” collaboration to try to find some answers. Incredibly interesting.
ICYMI, an interview with Michael O’Gorman of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. Michael told us, “Our country gets divided over matters of war and peace, over how food is raised, but this joining of the two makes those divisions go away. Wherever they go and however they farm. Our military fights together. Soldiers put aside differences in politics, religion, social class and race, and then they all fight together. Unfortunately, there is a lot of division in our nation over how food is raised, and that makes a sad division in our support for farmers.”
Have a great day!