Mark and Susan Ramaeker own and operate Ramaeker Organic Farm near Columbus, Nebraska. They employ a crop rotation including wheat, popcorn and soybeans integrated with plantings of alfalfa to increase fertility and control weed problems.
Beginning farmers and ranchers face significant challenges, including access to land and capital (thanks to rapidly increasing land values and cash rents). They also face barriers in accessing federal programs designed to assist them with getting started.
If we want to encourage a new generation to pursue a career in agriculture, we must have a national strategy and commitment to design public policy that addresses the unique needs of beginning farmers and ranchers and helps them embrace opportunities.
Washington: The Washington State Legislature has authorized the Small Farm Internship Pilot Project to let farms in Skagit and San Juan counties with annual sales of less than $250,000 enroll in a one-year pilot project that allows up to three farm interns to work on a farm with the goal of learning about farming practices.