An organization known as 4-H was founded in Ohio, in 1902. 26 years later, a group of young farmers founded the Future Farmers of America (FFA).

The creation of those two organizations signified the beginning of an era, where youth in agriculture had a spotlight. Since then, the organizations made great strides and are now two of the biggest agricultural organizations in the country. To put the greatness of these organizations into perspective, the National FFA Organization has 735,038 members and 4-H has 6.5 million members.

Young men and women have always played a crucial role in the progression of agriculture. For centuries, family-owned farms have been passed down from generation to generation; sons and daughters alike work on their parents’ and grandparents’ farms that they will one day inherit. Traditionally, these family-owned farms, with youth at the center, have been the backbone of American agriculture.

Despite the astounding number of young people in agriculture-based organizations, American agriculture seems to be facing a lack of youth involvement. According to the USDA, the majority of farmers in America are 57-60 years old. Many young people who grew up in a rural area, are leaving once they graduate high school to pursue careers in cities. This is concerning, to say the least. In a time where the population is on a steady incline, the world needs young farmers, with new ideas, more than ever.

So, what can be done about this? It could all tie back to agriculture education. If agriculture is taught positively in schools, in an engaging and encouraging environment, young scholars will have more interest in being involved in agriculture and farming. In addition to this, support of the local and federal government could encourage youth by ensuring that if they take on a career as a farmer, they will have financial and social backing.