25 Feb 2014

Focussing on farm succession

7:31 am on 25 February 2014

Farmers turned out at the weekend to hear an American farmer share his thoughts on the pressing problem of farm succession.

Joel Salatin is a third-generation alternative farmer who produces broiler chickens, turkeys, eggs, pigs and rabbits, as well as grass-finished beef, in the eastern state of Virginia.

He says the average farmer is aged about 60 and, with land prices so high, handing the farm down to the next generation is not easy.

"What's happened is that the capital intensity of getting into farming has become so hard, especially with land costs, that young people can't get in," Mr Salatin says. "When young people can't get in, the old people can't get out, so both generations feel trapped."

He recommends farmers create a "portable farm with portable infrastructure", rather than stationary infrastructure, so the farming operation can be divorced from the land ownership.