Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version

March 2005


Published in Cornhusker Economics, 03/30/2005. Produced by the Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


Given the average age of the principal farm operator in Nebraska has increased from 48.5 years in 1982 to 53.9 years in 2002, it would appear that fewer young people have the opportunity or desire to pursue careers in production agriculture. Many agricultural producers and inhabitants of rural communities recognize this trend and often ponder whether it is lack of interest, lack of opportunity or both that cause youth to pursue other careers. Certainly, the highly competitive, capital intensive, lowmargin business that production agriculture has become could be expected to deter many college students from a career in farming or ranching because their opportunity costs are too high. Positions in the agribusiness industry or non-ag sector might offer them a higher salary, better work conditions or both.