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Mindful : April 2015
mindful food revolution Lots of small farms Almost 90% of farms are small—those with less than $250,000 in sales (according to the USDA’s 2012 definition). 3.2 million farmers, less land The 2012 US Census reported 3.2 million farmers operating 2.1 million farms on 915 million acres, a decrease of 40 million acres since 1997. 70% rent land Did you know: most young farmers rent land? According to a 2011 report by the National Young Farmers Coalition, 70% of farmers under 30 rent land, whereas only 37% of farmers older than 30 rent their farmland. big farms produce most of the food we eat Large corporate farms (sales over $1 million) account for just 4% of the nation’s farms, but produce 2/3 of the food we eat. An aging demographic More than 60% of farmers in the US in 2012 were aged 55 and over. Another 32% were between the ages of 35 and 54, and just 6% were under 35. Older than the average worker American farmers are 17 years older than the nation’s average worker. The average American farmer is 58.3 years old, up from 50.5 in 1982. 78% from non-farm backgrounds More and more small farming programs are popping up around the country, even at some of the most esteemed universities, including Cornell and Penn State. According to Penn State, which has its Star t Farming program, 78% of its enrolled participants come from non-farm backgrounds, and 48% are female. Why we need young farmers... And where they’re coming from... The farming landscape (Source: Unless indicated otherwise, USDA 2012 Census of Agriculture, issued May 2014) 50 mindful April 2015