The Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF), a not-for-profit, non-lobbying group that assists Iowa livestock farmers in successfully and responsibly growing their farms, has seen a 50% increase in the number of calls it is getting this year over the same period a year ago.
"We've seen a definite uptick in the number of farmers under age 35 who have expressed interest in getting into farming," says Brian Waddingham, CSIF executive director. "With the significant amount of capital required to purchase land and land prices at an all-time high, many young people are finding that raising livestock and poultry provides an opportunity for them to accomplish their goal of returning to the family farm and raising their own family."
The majority of calls coming into CSIF are from livestock farmers interested in guidance on interpreting rules and regulations, especially regarding changes by the Environmental Protection Agency. Callers are asking CSIF for information on siting new or retrofitting existing livestock facilities; help with neighbor or community relations; or just general questions about turkey production or best management practices for tree plantings around livestock facilities.
Record attendance at CSIF's annual "Farming for the Future" conference
"We've seen record attendance at our annual Farming for the Future conference as well as facility tours over the past six months that demonstrate various ways to successfully and responsibly grow livestock in Iowa, and the majority of those folks attending are young people looking to stay in rural Iowa," Waddingham says. "Iowa is an agricultural powerhouse and to stay that way, we need to be able to welcome the next generation of farmers into the mix. It's good news for rural Iowa that interest is high among these young people."
In September, CSIF hosted its annual Farming for the Future conference, this year themed "A vision for your family's farm." It addressed many of the challenges facing the next generation of farmers, featuring a livestock, crop and feed outlook, as well as an update on rules and regulations. A panel of experts offered insight into financing for a beginning farmer and the day wrapped up with a panel of young farmers who openly shared various strategies they used to successfully return to the farm.
Due to the high level of interest in these topics, video from each session of the conference is now available at www.supportfarmers.com. "I would encourage anyone who has an interest in returning to the farm or growing their existing livestock farm to view the videos from this conference," Waddingham says. "Chad Hart and Shane Ellis of Iowa State University delivered crop and livestock price forecasts and Chris Gruenhagen with the Iowa Farm Bureau presented an outlook on rules and regulations that will have an impact on farms. The panel of finance experts provided great information on the loan programs available for beginning farmers and the young farmer panel shared personal stories of what worked – and didn't work for them – when getting into farming."
The Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers was created by farmers to help farmers raise livestock successfully and responsibly. It's a joint partnership involving the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Turkey Federation and Midwest Dairy Association.
The non-profit, non-partisan organization provides assistance to farmers at no cost. CSIF does not lobby or develop policy. Farm families wanting a helping hand can contact the CSIF at 1-800-932-2436 or visit www.supportfarmers.com.
More Young People Interested in returning to family farm, CSIF reports
Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers sees uptick in farmer calls
Contact: Brian Waddingham, Executive Director
Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers
515-225-5531 / [email protected]