In the first edition of the new year, Kansas Farmer will launch a new content section, Next Generation, that will feature the stories of young people from first 4-H experiences through Young Farmers and Ranchers just getting their careers started. The section will also offer some advice for overcoming hurdles and meeting challenges.
This is the time of year that 4-Hers are thinking about projects for next year. How do you know if you want to choose a pig, a lamb, a goat or a rabbit?
Potential 4-H projects
In reality, many young 4-Hers may not have a choice. Unless they live in a rural area, their neighborhood may have restrictions on what they can raise in their back yard. Most zoning laws, even in urban areas will permit small animals, such as rabbits, but have restrictions for "farm animals" such as pigs or goats.
Animal lovers, however, can still choose a pet such as a dog for a project or can perhaps find a grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend that has some close-by barn space they can visit regularly to care for their animal.
Inner city areas with 4-H clubs often offer projects that allow members a wide range of participation outside the livestock or animal areas that provide for a great experience. Examples include entomology, rocketry, electricity, robotics, illustrated talks, gardening, clothing, sewing, food science, and cooking.
Young people interested in 4-H projects can often get advice from older members of their club, many of whom have met and overcome the same challenges facing younger members.
Looking toward the future
Next Generation will also offer stories for young people who are thinking about agricultural careers and how they accomplish them and offer some help for young would-be farmers looking for retirement age farmers who might be interested in hiring them to work on the farm and begin building an ownership stake with an eye to the future.
More and more often, transition planners say, there are farm families with no heirs interested in carrying on the farm. Many of these owners would like to see their land remain a family farm and are looking for some way to pass the tradition to the next generation.
Watch for the "Securing a Legacy" stories in your January Kansas Farmer and share your thoughts.