Concerns Rising As Farmers Age Out In Garden State: 'The Average Age Of Our Farmer Is Approaching 60 Years Old'By CBSNewYork Team

CREAM RIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Farmers are aging out in New Jersey, and there’s a new push to bring young blood into the Garden State’s industry.

There is a concern in New Jersey about who will be farming the land in the future.

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Brendon Pearsall runs Rutgers University‘s agricultural experiment station.

“The average age of our farmer is approaching 60 years old,” he told CBS2’s Meg Baker.

Pearsall also runs a new course open to the public called “RU Ready To Farm? Getting Rooted In The Garden State.” It’s a statewide initiative to train new and beginning farmers.

Participants will learn how to grow, but the main focus is on the business side of farming.

“There’s a lot of barriers to entry. Land is very expensive in New Jersey,” Pearsall said.

It’s also hard to acquire the skills if you aren’t born to a farm family, but oftentimes, the next generation leaves the farm for college and goes onto other things. The fact is farming is hard work.

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James Klett started his venture when he was just 17. He says a new focus on sustainability and buying local has boosted business, especially from Generation Z and millennials.

“I think with our generation, whether it’s because of health concerns or environmental concerns, there’s definitely a trend towards organic,” he said.

The owner of Good Earth Nursery in Cream Ridge, Alex Stein, says it is a good time to lease or buy from aging farmers.

“There is a lot of opportunity,” Stein said.

The program will offer students access to quarter-acre lots and the infrastructure needed to kickstart their careers. A commute via tractor doesn’t look so bad.

To learn more about RU’s agricultural experiment station, click here.

For information on Beginner Farmer Training Program, please click here.

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CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team