A new generation of young farmers and ranchers from throughout Northern Colorado will be gathering Thursday night, October 4, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Bellvue Grange to socialize, network and celebrate the winding down of a long, hot, dry growing season here on the shortgrass prairie. This will be the first of many social and educational events aimed at young farmers and ranchers in Northern Colorado. This event is sponsored by the National Young Farmer Coalition, a nation-wide farmer-led partnership between new and beginning farmers and farm service providers to address the issues facing beginning farmers and ranchers.

In what has turned into a national movement, a growing number of America’s young people are interested and motivated to learn the ropes of sustainable farming and ranching. They are answering the call to fill the ranks of America’s aging farmers and to re-localize America’s food system. According to the USDA, a beginning farmer is someone who has operated a farm for 10 years or less; while a young farmer is defined by the USDA as a farmer under the age of 35. This is an important concept to grasp, as The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act states that the average age of farmers in the US is 57, with the fastest growing group of farm operators being those 65 years of age and older.

“There is an romanticism associated with local, sustainable food production and this mixer provides a chance for young and beginning farmers and ranchers to get together and discuss the realities of local food production,” said Michael Baute, Food and Farm Program Coordinator for Be Local Northern Colorado and co-owner of Spring Kite Farm, a new CSA and market farm here in Fort Collins. “The challenges, the successes, the future of a local/regional sustainable food system is in the hands of this new generation of agrarians, and we’re excited to accept this challenge. It’s the new agrarian dream.”

For more information about the Northern Colorado Young Farmer Mixer, or the young farmer movement in Northern Colorado or in general, please contact Michael Baute at info@springkitefarm.com.

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