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For only the second time in the last century, the number of farmers under 35 years old is increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest Census of Agriculture. Sixty-nine percent of the surveyed young farmers had college degrees — significantly higher than the general population, while the age of the average American farmer has crept toward 60 over several decades, risking the security of midsize family farms where children aren't interested in succeeding their parents. It's too early to say at this point whether young farmers will affect that sort of change. In some states, such as California, Nebraska and South Dakota, the number of beginning farmers has grown by 20 percent or more.

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