Networking important for young farmers

By Tim Kalinowski, Staff Writer

While many bemoan the fact there are not many young farmers entering the agriculture industry as in previous generations, Paul Glenn, chair of the Canadian Young Farmer’s Forum (CYFF), sees a lot of reasons for optimism in the future.

“Agriculture is a really attractive industry,” says Glenn. “And right now is a really good time to be in agriculture because commodity prices are higher, and the technology coming into Ag. right now is really exciting. So in that aspect it is exciting for young people to get into it, and farming really isn’t that really labour intensive job that it once was. So I think there is a definite interest among young people to get into farming. But you definitely have to have a passion for it; you are investing a lot of time and energy growing and producing high quality food to sell to an end user.”

The CYFF was established as a national organization in 1997 and represents thousands of young farmers across Canada between the ages of 18-40 years. Its stated goal is to assist young farmers with information while exchanging ideas that lead to progressive strategies to ensure farming success in Canada.

“Our mandate is to energize, educate and to empower young farmers in Canada,” explains Glenn. “The biggest thing, really, with our annual AGM is to get all the farmers together. Networking is huge.”

While getting into agriculture definitely has it challenges, Glenn says his members are excited about the direction the industry is growing in Canada.

“I think with the global economy Canada in the future is going to be about agriculture. That’s where Canada is going to succeed. It’s something we do really well and we are able to produce mass and quality food on a global scale, and on a global cost scale that is very competitive.”

The key to that success, says Glenn, will be innovation.

“The capital investment required to start in agriculture is pretty substantial, but we are seeing how its opening up to niche markets where you are kind of selling direct market such as in the case of veggies, for example. And that’s where a lot of our young farmers are leading the way.”

Not all of the CYFF’s members are farmers, but all are involved and have committed themselves to the Canadian agriculture industry.

“You don’t have to be a farmer to be in agriculture,” says Glenn. “So sometimes it’s just a matter of figuring out where you fit. Many of the young people coming into the industry are also quite ambitious, and that’s exactly what you need to be successful at it.”

For more information on the Canadian Young Farmers’ Forum visit the organization’s website at