03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

A New Family Farmer (Video)

According to the latest (2007) USDA Census data compiled by the National Agriculture Statistics Service, roughly 4 million family farms have been lost since the 1930's, though it should be noted that small farms (50 acres in size, or less) have increased about 13% compared to the earlier USDA 2002 census data. As the average population of family farmers continues to age (PDF) (only 15% of principal farm operators are under age 45), there is a critical shortage of young farmers to take their place. And no wonder, as Mike Paine explains in the video, he had to call his intended farm a 'country estate' in order to obtain the financing to purchase the land.

Paine added, "I would really encourage people not to be so tied to the idea of owning a piece of ground. I think there's going to be a lot more opportunities, at least in the near future, to find super elegant, very fertile leased ground." It's hard work and not for everyone, but he says it's worth it.

Here are some additional resources for prospective farmers looking to purchase land for farming:

1. Grassroots Guide to the 2008 farm Bill (PDF):
Direct and Guaranteed Farm Ownership and Operating Loans (Page 45)

2. Center for Rural Affairs
Beginning Farmer Financing Programs

Originally published on Cooking Up a Story