A new report shows people from both rural and urban settings worry rural youth migrating to cities will negatively impact the country’s family farms.
The report released by BMO Bank of Montreal reveals respondents from urban settings were just as concerned as those from rural settings, if not more so. The report found 72 percent of Albertans believe the migration of young people from rural to urban settings has a negative impact on family farms.
The report also showed people think the migration of rural youth to urban settings has negative consequences on the supply of labor, rural way of life, rural economy and the overall agriculture sector.
The report shows the need to support rural communities as the latest Census of Agriculture in Canada found a net reduction of young people under the age of 25 and an increase in the average age of Alberta farm operators to over 54 years. Farm operators under the age of 35, as a percentage of total farmers, declined from 9.1 per cent in 2006 to 8.2 per cent last year.
BMO Bank of Montreal’s study recognizes an issue which will need to be addressed to continue to secure the future of the country’s farms and food.
"It is easy enough to take agriculture for granted when you have a grocery store full of food, but to sustain this, we need young people in agriculture. A main area of focus for the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is intergenerational transfers and building long-term profitability into farming operations," said CFA President Ron Bonnett.