Wyoming ranchers and farmers are getting older

Cheyenne, WY – Statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show Wyoming ranchers and farmers are getting older. It's a trend that makes industry leaders concerned that a new
generation of producers isn't entering the agriculture business.

The average age of primary agriculture producers in the state was 57 in 2007, according to a USDA census. In 2002, the average age was 54.

Industry officials say the barriers to entry are stacked against newcomers.

Some states have instituted policies to assist new farmers and ranchers by offering lines of credit or programs to facilitate farm sales from older growers to beginning ones.

In Wyoming, Gov. Dave Freudenthal vetoed a bill this year that would have created a special lending authority to provide lower-interest loans to beginning producers.