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Economist challenges idea of aging farmer crisis

  • Food-and-Farm-Aging-Farmers

    In this Nov. 21, 2013 photo, Earl Hafner talks about growing vegetables in his aquaponics greenhouse on his farm near Panora, Iowa. Programs have been set up in many states to connect young farmers who want to get into agriculture with aging farmers to promote transition planning. Hafner is passing his 2,000-acre Early Morning Harvest farm to his 45-year old-son, Jeff. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Food-and-Farm-Aging-Farmers-1

    Earl Hafner talks about growing vegetables in his aquaponics greenhouse on his farm, near Panora, Iowa.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

Food-and-Farm-Aging-Farmers-1

Earl Hafner talks about growing vegetables in his aquaponics greenhouse on his farm, near Panora, Iowa.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

DES MOINES, Iowa  — Agriculture economists have long warned that aging farmers are staying on their land longer, delaying turnover to a younger generation.

But Ohio State University agriculture economist Carl Zulauf says the fears have been overstated.

Zulauf said in a report last month that history shows there’s an influx of young farmers when it’s possible to earn a good living. Farm income will likely reach a record $131 billion this year.

Iowa State University economist Mike Duffy still worries that the percentage of farm land held by people older than 75 has increased at an unprecedented pace in the last two decades.

Lindsey Lusher Shute, a 34-year-old farmer from Clermont, N.Y., says getting started has been “incredibly difficult” but she and her husband are slowly making it work.

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