The Future of Farming Is in Crisis

The men and women who produce our food are an old group and getting older. In 2017 (the most recent year for which census data is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture), the aver­age age of the head of a farm was just shy of 60—nearly a de­cade older than it was in 1978, and two decades older than the current average factory worker. One in three farmers is over the age of 65. And the problem is worsening.

David Beasley, the current head of the UN’s world food program, is predicting a ‘perfect storm’ of global agricultural collapse. The biggest problem this year is food prices, but he warns that next year, it will morph into a food availability problem as supplies run dry. ‘In 2023 you’re going to have a food shortage problem.’

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