It seems young adults aren’t drawn to the profession, but new technology hopes to change that.
South Carolina is home to about 24,400 farms, according to the USDA. And as the average age of the average farmer grows older, many of those farmers need to harvest young adults to take care of their crops and feed the state.
Twenty-two-year-old Caleb Coleman works JC Farms in Dillon.
“There’s a ton of work involved with being a farmer,” said
He says some around his age may shy away from the labor-intensive work required in a farm.
“But the guys that wake up and say I’m so excited to farm, and it’s because they truly love it,” Coleman said.
But, he says, new technology is making that work easier.
“It’s really fun,” Coleman said.
For instance, this vehicle sprays pesticides and others chemicals onto crops. It has a computer called Auto-steer to prevent the spray overlapping. That saves the farm a lot of money.
“I just have to press a button and away it’ll go,” Coleman said.
Another machine built into one tractor detects where they laid seed over a field so they don’t use more seed than they need to.
“Just in buying that technology, saving that much money, it’ll pay for itself in a year,” Coleman said.
One of the best pieces of technology farmers can have these days are drones. You can pick them from about $400 to $20,000.
One drone has a camera that sends images to a computer, where farmers can detect crops that are weak. Before, Coleman says, scouting could only be done on foot.
“Before it took maybe an hour to scout a 60-acre field, whereas now I can fly over it in five minutes,” Coleman said.
But even with all these gadgets, Coleman says farming isn’t for everyone.
“To be a farmer, it has to be a passion,” he said.
The USDA says the average age of an American farmer is 58 years old.