The average age of a farmer in the USA is almost 60 years old, and there aren't enough younger farmers to take their place. That's one reason why Mosby Farms in Auburn is gearing up for another summer of their Youth Crew.
Nate Kerlin, 19, started weeding in the program when he was 17. He admits his friends didn't always understand."It's just not something that young people want to come out and work hard and be in the fields and do that experience. They'd rather be doing something else," he said.
Kerlin is the only one of his peers who wants to be a farmer. And that worries people like Rosella Mosby."Six percent of the farmers and ranchers in our country are under the age of 35. So, with the average age of a farmer being 58, I don't understand how our public is not more concerned as a whole about who is going to be growing our food 20 or 30 years from now," Mosby said.
It's why Mosby Farms is readying for another summer for their youth crew. Well, that and they need help producing the food we eat right now."Our biggest struggle is agricultural labor for a hand weeded, hand harvested farm like our own," Mosby said.
For Mosby, it's a win-win: the farm has seasonal labor and the kids have a chance to grow their future."Some kids last til lunch and are like, 'This is not for me.' Some last all day or week. But there ends up being a core group that lasts all summer," she said.
For Nate, the work's teaching him what challenges await him as a full-time farmer someday."The rising price of land in the United States, the availability of labor or farms, government regulations, and prices," Kerlin said.
That's a lot to think about for a 19-year-old, but Kerlin believes someone has to."Because we need farmers. Without farmers, nobody can eat."
Youth applicants are invited to visit the farm for an interview June 10 a.m. at 8 a.m. or email Mosby Farms at Jobs@MosbyFarms.com.