Soaring land prices a big hurdle for young farmers

Published 10:35 am Monday, January 14, 2013

By Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio News

Farm fields in southwest Minnesota are frozen now, but Josh DeGreef has a vision of a warm spring day. The sun is shining, and he’s on a tractor, planting his first crop.

“I’d like to be a successful farmer I guess,” said DeGreeff, a 25-year-old from the Lake Wilson area of southwest Minnesota.

Email newsletter signup

After working full-time for a farm family the last three years, DeGreeff feels he is ready. He’s planted crops, driven a semi, tended cattle, and harvested in the fall.

Now he wants to get out on his own — and he’s let the world know it with ads in local newspapers that say, “Wanted: young experienced farmer looking for farm ground to rent.” But so far, DeGreeff hasn’t been able to find a plot he can afford.

High land prices are making it difficult for young farmers. In one of the most volatile and expensive land markets in history, they generally don’t have the financial resources to compete with established producers or investors. For those seeking a start, just renting a few acres is daunting. But they keep trying.

To continue reading this story, visit Minnesota Public Radio’s website by clicking here.