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Ag community will meet Saturday in GV

When the cost of land keeps rising but the return on your work doesn’t keep pace, what’s the future of your industry?

If development has driven up the price of land, how can you afford to expand or how can you find leased ground? How do you find access to capital for a small farm?



That’s what farmers, ranchers and other members of the agricultural community plan to talk about Saturday at a daylong symposium in Grass Valley.




People at Saturday’s gathering will talk about how to face the pressure of rising land prices in the face of development, as well as the problems of running a farm or ranch with new urban neighbors unused to the sounds and smells of agriculture, according to Roger Ingram, Nevada County’s UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor.

Prices farmers and ranchers receive are 15 percent less – when adjusted for inflation – than in 1969, but costs are about 40 percent higher, Ingram said.

“They’re getting squeezed tighter and tighter,” Ingram said of farmers and ranchers. “The only thing that has appreciated is land.”

The agricultural population is aging, and many ranchers and farmers wonder where the next generation will come from, he said. The average age of farmers is 57, and 27 percent of farmers are age 65 or older, he said. The number of farmers 35 or younger is 5 percent.

The “ag summit” is the outgrowth of efforts that have been going on since last July, Ingram said.

The agriculture advisory commission met weekly for months to give 17 recommendations to the board of supervisors in December, Ingram said.

The Nevada County Agricultural Commission and Natural Heritage 2020 agricultural working group are slated to give an update of their activities in recent months. The NH 2020 group is working feverishly to finish its report to the program’s lead committee by the end of the month, Ken Roberts, the group’s coordinator, said.

A period will be set aside at the end of the day to set priorities and allow people to sign up to work on those matters.

WHAT: Nevada County Agricultural Symposium

WHEN: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WHERE: Northern Mines Building at the Nevada County fairgrounds


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