• Wyoming’s Aging Agricultural Landscape: Demographic Trends Among Farm and Ranch Operators, 1920–2007

      Glick, Henry B.; Bettigole, Charles (Society for Range Management, 2014-12-01)
      On the Ground • Across the United States, farmers and ranchers are getting older, and fewer young operators are entering the agricultural workforce than in the past. • We statistically and cartographically explored demographic trends among farm and ranch operators in Wyoming to see if and how the agricultural community was aging. • Census records indicate that Wyoming’s agricultural community is in fact aging, and that the relative proportions of younger operators are dwindling rapidly. • With a changing local agricultural community, we face risks associated with loss of local knowledge, loss of tradition, and loss of investment that stem from a deep-rooted sense of place. • We face a fundamental challenge in inspiring young agriculturalists to take up residence in the state to help replace those of retirement age. • This might be accomplished through shifts in education, public policy, economic incentives, or through targeted cultivation of personal connections to the land.