Where to Get Started: A Guide For Young Farmers - Modern Farmer

Where to Get Started: A Guide For Young Farmers

If you’re a young person looking to start a career in farming, check out these organizations.

Children of USDA employees participate in Take Our Children to Work Day at the USDA on Thursday, April 25, 2024.
Photography via USDA/by Tom Witham

This story is part of our Future Farmers series, highlighting the joys and hurdles of a career in agriculture today. You can read more of this series here. 

There are many organizations out there, from large national groups to regional and community efforts, all working to help young farmers start their careers. Whether you’re looking for advice on organic farming or you want to try an apprenticeship or you want to understand federal policy, there’s a group for you. 

This is a (definitely non-exhaustive!) list of just a few of the organizations that can help get you started on the right path. 

Young Agrarians – This Canadian group has resources and mentorship for farmers across the country and apprenticeship programs for people in western Canada. 

National Young Farmers Coalition – This national group has 24 chapters across the US, and it has a goal of remaking the food system to be more equitable. 

Future Farmers of America  – This national student organization prioritizes agricultural education as a path to success in many fields, including farming, biology, chemistry, engineering, and more.

4H – This is a huge youth program, with more than 500,000 volunteers and six million participants. Kids complete hands-on projects, such as raising livestock.

Canadian Young Farmers Forum This organization prioritizes education and training, with farmer-to-farmer networking. Its annual conference brings farmers from across the country together. 

Greenhorns Based in Maine but running nationally, this organization works to reform the agriculture industry with a focus on regenerative ranching, ecological restoration and food justice. 

Junior Farmers Association of Ontario – Like many regional organizations, the JFAO works with farmers between the ages of 15 and 29 from all over Ontario, hosting monthly meetings and even an international exchange program.

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program from the USDA – This program provides grants for education, mentorship and technical assistance. 

Young Farmers and Ranchers program from the American Farm Bureau Federation – This leadership program for young Farm Bureau members helps develop and advocate for public policies that strengthen agriculture and rural communities. 

National Farmers Union Youth Advisory Committee – This arm of the NFU represents young farmers across Canada. The group has two seats on the NFU Board of Directors, and holds events like an annual retreat.

This story is part of our Future Farmers series, highlighting the joys and hurdles of a career in agriculture today. You can read more of this series here. 

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Chris123
22 days ago

Don’t forget FFA!

20 days ago

kudos
Young farmers are the future and face of Agriculture

Nancy Bruning
18 days ago

Just wondering if there are organizations that work with city kids in particular, matching them up with small parcels of unused privately or publicly owned land to get their feet wet. It seems that school church, and other community gardens are not taking a mentorship/long view. Maybe I’m wrong?
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Suzanne
16 days ago

National Farmers Union has a youth caucus and membership!

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