It has been said that there are only two reasons that anyone is in production agriculture today — it is a passion, or you are making money at it. I suppose that could be true, although I don’t believe most folks in agriculture are all that mercenary. Maybe passion is supposed to extend to the love of the land and most, if not all, of its creatures, but I believe that there is more to agriculture than money and passion.
There is heritage, the personal rewards of every season and the sense of a job well-done at the end of the day, the spiritual fulfillment that only a sunrise or sunset over a range or a field can provide. There is the burning desire to see that your land, your heritage, and your blood, sweat and tears are passed down to future generations for the growing of food and fiber by generations to come, just as it may have been handed down to you. I don’t know of many who might think that legacy is a cover crop of concrete and asphalt.
The world today provides many challenges to retaining agriculture production. Many of the next generation(s) are off making money doing something else. There wasn’t room for them to stay on the ranch or farm when they finished college or maybe they wanted to see the world. But you might be surprised how many of them are harboring the idea in the back of their minds that someday they will get to go back to the land, go back home.
Or, there may not be a next generation to step in behind you for at least the short term. There may be nieces and nephews that eventually will need the opportunity to come back to the land.
This situation could be a crisis for those who hold agriculture lands but are no longer able to maintain an agriculture operation, large and small. The land is currently valued as agriculture with the favorable ag special use valuation, but a vacant land tax valuation could make it impossible to keep the land.
At the same time they are folks who have the desire to become involved in agriculture, but are priced off of the land. These people of all ages, but primarily young, who just need a chance and a place to embark on their agricultural careers.
The Cattlegrowers Foundation Inc. would like to become the conduit to connect those who want to keep their land in agriculture and those who need a place to start.
Exactly how that happens will be crafted to the needs of each individual. Agreements must be put in place that will cover the legal, liability, insurance and the many other issues that must be considered.