FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The US Department of Agriculture reports the average age of the American farmer is 58. With that in mind, the USDA is reaching out to young people who may be interested in farming.
Keeping the sheep cool, comfortable, and well-fed in the summer heat is a priority at Fresno State. Ag education major Arianna Koster does her part while on the job.
"You can't tell right now, because I'm all dolled up, but I kind of like getting in the grit and doing dirty stuff and go throw on a hat and jeans and go jumping on a tractor."
Koster is part of Fresno State's livestock judging team that will travel the country this semester. She grew up on a farm in Tracy and plans to continue with the family business after graduation.
"Oh definitely. Right now it's me and my two brothers that are going to be passed on with it as well as two of our other cousins," said Koster. "It's easier to sit behind a desk, but hard work pays off and I think it makes you a better person in the long run."
The agriculture industry seeks more young people willing to farm. US Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack just announced almost $18 million in new funding was available for the next generation of new farmers and ranchers.
"Excited by the opportunity for programs to help and assist young farmers get the business planning, and thought process behind getting started in the farming business and having a better understanding of what programs are available."
But none of the 37 new programs announced by the Ag Secretary impact the Central Valley. Only one, in fact, involved a California group-- Alba Organics in Salinas.