An increasing number of Iowa Future Farmers of America (FFA) members actually want to farm, raise livestock and live and work in Iowa after completing their education.

A survey of 586 FFA'ers, conducted by the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF), emphasizes the drawing power of agriculture in helping Iowa retain skilled young people, while reinforcing the importance of high school vocational agriculture programs.

In the survey, students said they want to farm after completing their education; that's up 11% from 2006.

Of those respondents, 45% said they want to both grow crops and raise livestock, while 22% want to raise livestock in conjunction with off-farm employment. Seventeen percent want to manage a full-time livestock farm.

“The number of FFA members wanting a career in agriculture is significant, considering that nearly one of every three students who participated in the survey don't live on a farm,” says state FFA advisor Dale Gruis. “Yet they see farming or an ag-related career as an exciting career opportunity. That bodes well for Iowa.”

Startup costs were the biggest concern (44%), followed by risk and price volatility (26%), labor requirements (12%), regulations (8%) and fear of opposition to growth (7%).