WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Changing Lands, Changing Hands

Jul 8, 2013

The five-part series Changing Lands, Changing Hands takes a look at the aging of the American farmer.

In 1978, the average age of the American farmer was just over 50.  In 2007, it was creeping toward 60, at just over 57-years-old.

The Hawthorn farm has been in the family for four generations since it was founded in the late 1870s by Bob Hawthorn’s great-grandfather who went by the name “Trapper.”
Credit Ray Meints for NET News

What does that mean for the agriculture industry? Harvest Public Media went to answer that question by focusing on this massive demographic shift that affects not just rural America but the power and potential of an entire industry.

You can check out the series on the Harvest Public Media website.

In Part 1 of the series, Grant Gerlock checks in on the fastest growing group of farmers in the US – those age 65 or older.

In Part 2, Amy Mayer reports on family farms in transition.

In Part 3, Abbie Fentress Swanson looks at how some Americans use retirement to begin their farming dream.

In Part 4, Bill Wheelhouse takes us to a rural farm town in western Illinois where civic responsibilities weigh heaviest on those who are the oldest.

In Part 5, Luke Runyon examines whether young people even want to farm anymore.