Programs like 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) are integral components of training the next generation for success in the agriculture industry. However, even with proper preparation, there are still some sizable obstacles confronting young and beginning farmers.
United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue aims to assist young farmers and ranchers get established in the industry. “I think the future is great,” he said. “USDA is working on how we can help to remove those barriers that young people in agriculture face now.”
On his first official visit to California, Secretary Perdue heard from the agriculture community at a town hall meeting held at the Modesto Junior College Agricultural Pavilion, where he was also introduced to the newly elected National FFA President Breanna Holbert. Secretary Perdue described Holbert as “a very bright young woman.” Holbert previously served as secretary for California’s FFA and is currently working on her degree at California State University Chico, majoring in agricultural education.
Secretary Perdue later stopped in Madera to tour Cavallero Farm. The owner of the farm, Mark Cavallero, was a 2017 national FFA American Star Farmer finalist and is currently a student at Reedley College. Secretary Perdue commended Cavallero for the hard work he is putting into his grape acreage, and his recent expansion into almonds.
Secretary Perdue said he would like to address some of the challenges that beginning farmers face “from land, from capital, machinery, and other things.” Perdue also said the administration is looking to remove some of the barriers and hopefully enable future farmers to get their own operations started.