New ways needed to help young farm­ers stay in busi­ness

The Denver Post - - OPINION - Re: Maia Reed,

“Pitkin County nur­tures young farm­ers,” Oct. 1 news story.

At 23 years old, I moved to Pao­nia to try my hand at farm­ing. I loved ev­ery­thing about it — ex­cept the dis­mal prospects for my fu­ture. Know­ing I would strug­gle to raise a fam­ily on a mea­ger farmer’s in­come, I moved on to more lu­cra­tive prospects.

Many young farm­ers are more ded­i­cated than me, ac­cord­ing to your ar­ti­cle about a “mini-ex­plo­sion” of them in the Roar­ing Fork Val­ley. And with the av­er­age age of Colorado farm­ers push­ing 59, young farm­ers are in­te­gral to the fu­ture of our food sys­tem.

But to en­sure the long-term suc­cess of th­ese wide-eyed twenty-some­things, we must find in­come streams that al­low new farm­ers to stay in the busi­ness. Farm­ers mar­kets and com­mu­nity-sup­ported agri­cul­ture are a start, but they’re not enough. Health in­sur­ance and rais­ing chil­dren re­quire money. Un­til farm­ing can sup­port th­ese ex­penses, I fear the ca­reers of many young farm­ers will be short-lived. Send let­ters of 150 words or fewer to open­fo­rum@den­ver­ or 101 W. Col­fax Ave., Suite 800, Den­ver, CO, 80202. Please in­clude full name, city and phone num­ber. Con­tact in­for­ma­tion is for our pur­poses only; we will not share it with any­one else. You can reach us by tele­phone at 303-954-1331.

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