Kellogg and Meijer are partnering with The National Young Farmers Coalition.
The average age of the American farmer is 60 years old, and many are nearing retirement. Many young farmers do not come from farming families, which means they do not automatically transition to farmland that is turnkey and ready for them. It has been increasingly difficult for young farmers to buy land and create successful farms, the companies noted.
The National Young Farmers Coalition, or Young Farmers, works to shift power to and equitably resource the next generation of working farmers, particularly farmers of color, by uplifting their stories and needs into policy.
Funding from Kellogg and Meijer will help cover honorariums for 12 Midwest farmers, including five from Michigan, who participate in the Young Farmers Land Advocacy Fellowship as part of their 2023 Farm Bill platform called the One Million Acres for the Future campaign. This funding will support farmers in the fellowship to advocate for themselves in Washington, D.C., by providing travel for them to participate in regional gatherings.
Funds also will underwrite the creation of online and in-store consumer communications that share the partnership between Kellogg, Meijer and The National Young Farmers Coalition.
"Kellogg's Better Days is our promise to advance sustainable and equitable access to food, creating better days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030," said Amy Davis, vice president of sales accounts at Kellogg. "By investing in young farmer leaders and supporting their advocacy, Kellogg and Meijer can help shape the future of farming in the Midwest for generations to come. As two Michigan based companies, this is particularly important, as Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the country."
"Meijer has a longstanding commitment to our local growers, many of which we've worked with for decades," said Don Sanderson, Meijer chief merchandising and marketing officer. "But with any good business, it's vital to create pathways for the next generation. This partnership with The National Young Farmers Coalition will help young farmers, especially young farmers of color, while ensuring a strong supply chain in the future."
According to Young Farmers, the biggest challenge young farmers face is access to land – particularly if they do not come from farming families. Improving access to financing for young farmers of color also is a problem that Young Farmers seek to address through their advocacy and work with the United States Department of Agriculture.
Since 2019, Kellogg and Meijer have collaborated to support Midwest farmers. This investment builds upon the collaboration to help shape the future of farming for generations to come.
"We greatly appreciate the support from Kellogg and Meijer," said Payge Lindow, Michigan Organizer for Young Farmers. "Uplifting farmer voices into policy advocacy while building a strong community of young farmers to support one another along the way is crucial as farming transitions into the hands of these young farmers."