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March 8, 2012

Young Farmers & Ranchers Reveal Top Concerns

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

Young farmers and ranchers from around the country revealed how they feel about their future. American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Chair Glen Cope talks about a new survey in this report from AFBF’s Johnna Miller.
Miller:The American Farm Bureau Federation has been surveying young farmers and ranchers for the past 20 years. This year marked the highest level of optimism amongst respondents in the survey’s history. 94 percent said they’re optimistic about their future.
Cope:That’s certainly encouraging and we’re glad to see those numbers because we’re seeing better commodity prices; we’re seeing low interest rates and that makes it much easier for farmers and ranchers, especially young farmers and ranchers to be optimistic about the future of agriculture. 
Miller:American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee Chair Glen Cope is a beef cattle farmer from Missouri. He says while optimism may be high, that doesn’t mean he and his peers don’t face a lot of challenges. Two tied for the top spot in that category.
Cope:One of the major challenges that farmers and ranchers are seeing today is a worry about regulations that are just burdensome and overreaching and the old adage has never been more true that it seems like if you want to be in farming as a young person you have to either inherit it or marry into it and certainly with increasing land values, it makes it challenging for young people to get started in farming. 
Miller:Young farmers and ranchers also seem to have accepted that their career choice has a new responsibility their predecessors may not have considered. 
Cope:Young farmers and ranchers seem to be very progressive today in terms of using social media, be it Facebook or Twitter and they’re seeing the potential to have conversations with consumers of what they can do to correct misconceptions that folks have about agriculture. Not only are we seeing those opportunities, but we find that sometimes it’s necessary and it’s our duty to engage the consumers on what we do every day on the farm. We want to be as transparent as possible.
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
Miller:We have two extra actualities with AFBF YF&R Chair Glen Cope. In the first extra actuality he talks about how technology is helping farmers and ranchers feel better off. The cut runs 29 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Cope:We have technology now today to help environmental stewardship in terms of when we do soil tests throughout a field, we find areas in the in the field that need more nutrients or need less nutrients and because of technology we can apply variable rates to that field and we can apply the nutrients that are necessary in certain parts of the field to make it the most productive possible yet not over apply fertilizers. Being able to use these technologies makes it more efficient and more environmentally friendly and certainly we’re seeing great advantages in those areas. 
Miller:In the second extra actuality Cope talks about the reason for doing the survey. The cut runs 23 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Cope:Depending on what circumstances young people are seeing out there on their farms and ranches, whether it be weather conditions, whether it be regulations what commodity prices are doing, that has a direct impact on the bottom line of young farmers and ranchers and we kind of want to do this survey so we can get a litmus test of what’s going on out there, how they feel about their situations and I think it’s important to know how farmers and ranchers are doing financially as well as emotionally. 
Miller:Newsline is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 5pm Eastern time. Thank you for listening.

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