altKids these days.

That phrase seems to be often followed up with some not-so-kind statements about the next generation.

I agree there are some kids, and just as many adults, who lack focus and manners these days. Maybe they don’t get the direction they need from home, or outside influences are taking them down a trail that will prove to be a hazardous one in the future if they continue that path. My parents’ way for “directing” me may have been a stern voice or maybe a well-placed thump, but their point got across.

Kids these days aren’t like my generation, but I can’t, however, pigeonhole all kids into the Generation Z stereotype of being self-involved and only interested in their cell phones.

Many young people are trailblazers and know it takes hard work to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. We are featuring a few of those young people in the pages of this edition of Ozarks Farm & Neighbor. I am proud of each one of them and their passion for the industry. These hard-working, driven young people are the future of agriculture.

Young people bring new ideas and a renewed energy to our farms, as well as technological advancement. The future is bright for agriculture because of young people like those featured, and the many other young farmers and ranchers in the Ozarks.

Some time ago, I met a young man who wants nothing more than to be a farmer. He’s been helping out a couple of farmers for a couple of years, but his goal is to one day have an operation of his own, where he can raise livestock, taking what he has learned from others along the way to build his own herd. The producers he works with have shown him a different world; a world he has grown to love. Thanks to the help and mentoring the young man has received, I’m sure he’ll obtain his goals.

With all the talk about kids these days, what are you doing to guide those future farmers and ranchers? Are you encouraging their dreams, or are you trying to deter them from taking a path back to our farms and ranches? Production agriculture is hard work for low pay, so don’t paint a picture that is all sunshine and roses, but don’t discourage the next generation from following the same path you have chosen. As we all know, the average age of the nation’s farmers is increasing, so someone will have to be there to take over one day. Wouldn’t you like to see someone in your family or someone else you know and trust to take the lead?

So what about kids these days? With a little direction, I think they are going to be just fine.


Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here