Development policies in Ethiopia emphasise agriculture as the pathway to industrialisation. Policies allude to the need for a new generation of young, literate and trained farmers to transform the agricultural sector and bring about the required growth in agricultural output. The success of this strategy largely depends on the willingness of the new generation of literate rural youth to take up agriculture as a potentially rewarding livelihood. This article investigates, based on fieldwork conducted in two rural kebeles of Ethiopia, whether young rural people have this willingness to take up agriculture. It examines the factors that contribute to both the desirability (and undesirability) of agriculture as a future livelihood. Findings revealed that very few young people and their parents were considering farming as a possible option for a future livelihood. For others, farming/agriculture might be a last resort.