Today, only 6 percent of farmers in the United States are under the age of 35. There are more U.S. farmers over the age of 75 than between the ages of 35 and 44, and the number of farmers and ranchers across the country is declining.
That’s why increasing the number of beginning farmers successfully practicing resilient agriculture lies at the heart of Stone Barns Center’s mission to create a healthy and sustainable food system.
The Growing Farmers Initiative is our comprehensive program to help beginning farmers get the training, resources and guidance to create economically and ecologically resilient farm enterprises. We give them the knowledge and hands-on experience to grow delicious, nutritious food and to become responsible stewards of the land. Together with partners, we seek to remove the barriers that stand in the way of their success, whether those be access to land, prohibitive capital costs, or marketing and distribution challenges.
Letters to a Young Farmer
The first book from Stone Barns Center, Letters to a Young Farmer is both a compelling history and a vital road map—a reckoning of how we eat and farm; how the two can come together to build a more sustainable future; and why now, more than ever before, we need farmers. Learn more at letterstoayoungfarmer.org.
Traditionally, farming knowledge was passed down from generation to generation. Today, many young people entering the field did not grow up on farms and are eager to learn directly from seasoned farmers. Each year, we welcome to the farm 6 to 10 aspiring farmers who come to receive hands-on training and education in diversified, resilient farming practices. 2/3 of our former apprentices are active in agriculture today. Learn more about some of them here.
Young Farmers Conference
Every December, over 250 new and aspiring farmers from more than 35 states and 5 countries gather at Stone Barns Center to learn from agricultural luminaries, peers and advocacy organizations at the Young Farmers Conference.
Each year, hundreds of beginning farmers participate in our technical workshops, which range from beekeeping to engine repair to crop rotation planning. We also host an annual Poultry School for growers of all skill levels.
Farmer Knowledge and Resources
Together with partners, we create videos and offer a comprehensive curriculum and readings for beginning farmers. Find more information on these programs and our resources at virtualgrange.org.
Stone Barns Center’s Growing Farmers Initiative programs are made possible by generous support from:
Clif Bar Family Foundation
Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation
Newman's Own Foundation
Wallace Genetic Foundation