New ways needed to help young farmers stay in business
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.