Nfld. & Labrador

Farmers looking to grow interest among young people

Chris Oram and the Young Farmers Forum are working to get more young people farming to solidify the industry and and increase food security.
Farmer Chris Oram grows melons on his farm in Wooddale, and wants more young people to work on their green thumbs. (CBC)

A group of farmers in Newfoundland and Labrador is working to encourage young people to work in the agriculture industry.

Chris Oram, Vice Chair of the Young Farmer's Forum and a farmer in Wooddale, says that farmers in the province are aging. 

He said that the average age  is near 64, and farmers across the country are getting older. 

Oram said his group is made up of 65 young farmers between the ages of 19 and 40.

It's hard work, but it's very rewarding.- Chris Oram

"We're trying to get as many people [as possible] that are out in Newfoundland and are interested to be active, and see if farming is the choice for them," he said on CBC's Central Morning

Oram's group organizes forums to provide information to potential new farmers and to create a connected network across the province. 

He said there are a number of obstacles that might prevent young people from working in agriculture, such as accessibility to land and financing, but he's happy with his job.

"I'm my own boss, I'm outside everyday and I get to, to a certain extent, dictate my own hours," he said.

"It's hard work, but it's very rewarding."

Issue of food security

Oram also said the province's food security may be threatened if there are not more young farmers to replace those who are aging.

"We only have two or three days supply here on the island [if] the boats aren't running. We see it all the time in the winter," he said.

"If there is no one coming up through that wants to go farming, then we won't have an industry [any] more." 

Oram and the Young Farmers Forum are currently organizing two events, one in Corner Brook and one in St. John's, for those interested in getting more information about careers in agriculture. 


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