The National Young Farmers Coalition’s 2020 Soil Health Policy Report featuring the perspectives of young farmers in Illinois.
The havoc wrought on Midwest farms by historic flooding in 2019 brought to national attention, yet again, the impacts of climate change on U.S. agriculture. But for young farmers across the country and in the state of Illinois, last year is just one more season defined by a “new normal” of unpredictable weather and uncertain yields—closing out the hottest decade on record. The impacts of these risks are not limited to yield fluctuations and disrupted planting schedules: these risks compound the multiple challenges already faced by young farmer communities. In a moment when we need a new generation to enter the fields and steward our nation’s land—primary producers in the Prairie State over 65 now outnumber farmers under 35 by more than five to one—limiting their exposure to and helping them manage climate risk is essential to supporting them in building farm businesses and revitalizing our rural communities.