An Old Industry with New Opportunities

The baby boomer generation has had a large affect on the agriculture industry over the last 50 years and has seen many technological advances to increase the number of people they can feed per acre and per animal. While baby boomers are increasing in age, their passion for the land and the livestock they care for does not decrease – that’s why you rarely hear of a retired farmer or rancher.

However, 60.7% of farmers are between the ages of 51-69 and only 29.6% are under 50, with these overwhelming numbers of farmers and ranchers aged 50+ – there are many opportunities for young people to learn, develop and earn. Agriculture degrees are becoming a hot ticket for job growth, on pace to generate 54,000 jobs per year. With the world population expected to exceed 9 billion people by 2050 and food production needing to increase by 70%, it’s a safe bet that these jobs aren’t going anywhere. These jobs are also not just in farm and ranch management, but in engineering, communications, law and much more.

One program that can help prepare and inform young farmers and ranchers is the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) program. The program includes both men and women between the ages of 18-35 and provides leadership building  to preserve our individual freedoms and expand opportunities in agriculture. The Young Farmers and Ranchers program is an opportunity for education through participation in conferences,  networking with fellow farmers, ranchers and agricultural enthusiasts and to continue  professional development and personal growth. This program is part of a national program of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Meet people from across the country who have participated in the program and see the difference they have made in the Young Farmers and Ranchers 2012 highlight video.

“Young Farmers & Ranchers understand that our careers in agriculture don’t stop at the farm gates anymore. Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program cultivates its members to become more effective leaders. Through leadership development, hands-on communication training and nationwide networking, Young Farmers & Ranchers members gain essential skills to further the mission of Farm Bureau in policy development, advocacy and action. Farm Bureau’s YF&R program ensures a bright future for American agriculture by empowering young leaders to take ownership in the future of ag.” – Ben LaCross (Michigan),  American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee Chair

Learn more about the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Program and their upcoming annual conference at


— Kassi Williams is a proud farmer’s daughter growing up on a cow/calf and grain farm in Iowa. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Iowa State University, majoring in both animal science and public relations. She has been involved with agriculture from birth, working in multiple facets of the industry including the USDA and Extension. Kassi relocated to Nebraska in 2010 to work for a marketing communications agency for a multitude of agriculture clients. 

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