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Friday, September 30, 2011 - 10:00am

Help Wanted: More Farmers

The federal government is awarding $18 million through 36 grants nationwide to get more young people into farming. In Georgia, two organizations will spend that money to boost—and create—new programs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the average age of a farmer is 57 years old. And to keep the food pipeline sustainable, the nation needs more young people to get into the business.

Jonathan Tescher is with Georgia Organics, one of two organizations that will split nearly $1.3 million in grant money. He says more needs to be done to get students of agriculture—onto the farms.

“Most of the young people who are in college for their UGA and agribusiness programs, maybe come from farming families, but aren’t going back to work on farms, they’re going back to work for agribusiness companies.”

Tescher says his non-profit will use the money to boost its farmer mentoring program and produce online instructional presentations, in partnership with the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State.

Agriculture is an annual impact of $65 billion to the state’s economy.