Assistive technology, help from seasonal hires and family members, and a general improvement in the health of U.S. seniors in recent decades have helped farmers remain productive and stay on the job well into their 60s, 70s and beyond.
In the U.S. last year, the median age for domestic farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers was 56.4 years old. That’s the highest median age of any major occupation tracked by the government’s Current Population Survey for which data was available.
Experts worry that without the older farmers, there might not be enough people interested in agriculture to support America’s food production needs.
They say steep equipment costs and limited land availability are among the reasons younger workers struggle to establish themselves.