You’ve probably heard the phrase’ the future is now,’ and it is for us in agriculture. Welcome to my next six-part series, where I’ll be covering my take on the future of the industry, starting with the significant shifts happening that will (or already are!) affecting everyone from the farm to the corporate offices of major suppliers. In this blog, I’m only able to touch on each of these with a few facts or statements as I seem them. I invite and ENCOURAGE you and your team or family to do the same. You may see these differently or affecting you greater or less. I welcome your dialog with me about this topic over in the Farm Next Facebook group, a place where I am sharing training and starting conversations in agriculture about the things we often don’t like to discuss in agriculture. I’m also covering each topic in the series in more detail on my brand new podcast, also called Farm Next. I’ve pulled some of the research from my new book, Who’s Running Your Farm Next 5 Steps to Develop and Coach Your Next Generation.
So let’s get down to business.
“The real issue is knowledge transfer. Or, more concerning, what happens to the knowledge if we fail to transfer it effectively.”
Shift #1 is the Massive Transition in Leadership and Land. USDA estimates that 370 million acres of agricultural land will change hands in the decade leading up to 2030 and this number matches up closely with USDA’s estimates that farmers older than 65 control much ground today—about 320 million acres, more than one-third of U.S. agricultural land.4
If you’re considering retirement, you’ll have plenty of company. The USDA further estimates that between now and around 2030, 500,000 farmers will retire or otherwise be out of the business.5 That number is staggering given another “fact” that is so commonly cited in the industry that it has become an anecdotal “fact” that we’ve all heard before: people employed in agricultural work comprise less than 2 percent of the U.S. population.
The silver lining opportunity of this shift is that the next generation can have their turn to come into leadership and run the business the way they believe it will perform best. To succeed, they will need the guidance of their forebears. For many, there is still time to share knowledge, contacts, relationships, and the little anecdotes that helped them be successful along the way. Take time now to ensure the transfer of this valuable knowledge.
What does this mean for you? Time to take a look and decide.
P.S. Interested in free training and discussion on these topics? Don’t forget to join my new Facebook group, FarmNext, and watch the new Facebook Live show! Show is on Thursday’s at 4pm EST!
Click HERE to join the group!
ACT like a pro out there!
-Sarah Beth Aubrey