By ANJANA SCHROEDER
Capital News Service
LANSING – Young farmers don’t always have the opportunity to buy or rent suitable land nor have the capital to acquire enough land to be profitable, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Educational programs help young farmers face these challenges. Tom Nugent, director of field operations for Michigan Farm Bureau, said its Young Farmers program, started in 1935, is designed to give beginners a solid foundation for a future in farming. The program consists of 18-35 year-olds but new farmers older than 35 are able to participate, Nugent said. The USDA defines a young farmer as one with 10 years or less experience operating farms.
Ryan Vanderwal of Lake City went through Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer program and now owns his own dairy supply company, Star City IBA.