WASHINGTON, DC - The Agriculture Department says it sees an epidemic of young people leaving the farm.
U.S. Deputy Ag Secretary Kathleen Merrigan says the country's farmers and ranchers are getting older and there are fewer people standing in line to take their place.
New Mexico has the highest average age of farmers and ranchers of any state at nearly 60 years old and the fastest growing group of farmers and ranchers are those over age 65.
Merrigan is making stops at universities around the country to encourage more students to think about agricultural careers.
The visits come in the wake of a recent blog posting that put agriculture at "number one" on a list of "useless" college degrees.
The National Young Farmers' Coalition has also been pushing for state and federal policy changes to make it easier for new farmers to get into agriculture careers.