A survey conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation indicates that profitability, increasing government regulations and the impact of activist groups are the top concerns of America's leading young farmers and ranchers. Still, despite economic challenges, 80% of those responding to AFBF's 18th annual survey of young farmers and ranchers say they are more optimistic than they were five years ago, while 82% say they are better off than they were five years ago.
The informal survey shows that 79% of young farmers and ranchers have a high or very high level of apprehension about government climate change regulations. 85% were concerned or very concerned about activist groups. Only 7% expressed little or no concern. 83% said they believe farm income should come totally from the marketplace, while only 17% said farm income should be supplemented by government farm program payments.
The Farm Bureau survey of young farmers and ranchers also shows that nearly 99% said they have access to and use the Internet, with 72% saying they have access to a high-speed Internet connection. Only 20% rely on dial-up connections. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed have a Facebook page.
In addition, the Internet is an important tool for the group to access both general and farm news, with 84% saying they use the Web for that function. Seventy-two% said they turn to the Internet to collect buying information for their operations. 96% say they consider themselves life-long farmers or ranchers.