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Prepared For Success - A Look At The Next Generation Of Alberta Farmers

The future growth potential for the agriculture industry in Alberta is dependent on a younger generation of farmers who will not only maintain the current level of production but increase it further. At present fewer members of this younger generation are becoming involved in agriculture than in years past. To investigate the current barriers to entry as well as possible solutions to them a telephone survey was conducted with a group of 35 farmers who had started farming within the last 10 years. The findings indicate that low returns on agricultural productions combined with high capital investment requirements and limited land availability are the primary barriers to entry as well as expansion. Two thirds of the group reported having good access to financing in the startup period. Half of the producers also indicated that either their spouse, themselves or both were working off the farm at least part time to provide extra cash flow to cover the financing charges for their capital asset purchases. Financial management was the top ranked farm management competency followed by production techniques and a virtual tie between commodity marketing and risk management. Two thirds of the group had received encouragement from their parents to begin farming and perhaps more importantly three quarters of them had received on or more types of assistance from their family. 91% of the producers could clearly identify emerging opportunities in the industry and just over half of the producers were either planning for or already moving into these areas. The attitudes expressed by this group indicate that they recognize the necessity for prudent financial management and are prepared to work hard to overcome the challenges in the industry.
Canada

Author(s): Robinson Dale (1)

Organization(s): Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development (1)