As another school year draws to a close, there are all kinds of signs that the future of agriculture is in good hands.

The Spokesman county pages in recent weeks have been filled with announcements about scholarships awarded by county Farm Bureaus to graduating high school seniors. In a couple weeks, we’ll highlight $212,000 in scholarships awarded by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation to students studying agriculture or pursuing a degree in another field that will support rural Iowa communities.

There have also been a flurry of activities involving ambitious high school and college ag students as the school year winds down. FFA chapters across the state are planting test plots, conducting greenhouse sales and helping at farm safety days.

Many of these ag students of today will become the farmers of tomorrow. A survey conducted by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers at the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference last month found that 70% of students surveyed want to farm in the future.

They’re well aware of the challenges that entails, with 35% of the respondents identifying high start-up costs as the biggest obstacle facing beginning farmers and 21% citing lack of available land. That’s one of the reasons most of the students said they want to raise livestock, which allows them to generate more income on fewer acres.

Despite the challenges, the survey found that 95% of respondents have a “positive” or “very positive” outlook toward the future of Iowa agriculture and 76% of students surveyed plan to live and work in Iowa.