Every day this week on NET News, we’re airing a special report on the aging American farmer, Changing Lands, Changing Hands. It’s produced in partnership with Harvest Public Media, and culminates Friday, July 12th with the premiere of the NET News documentary of the same name at 7 p.m. CT on NET-1/NET-HD. Watch a trailer for Changing Hands.
TODAY: NET News reporter Grant Gerlock reports on the growing number of American farm operators older than retirement age - 25 percent, compared with 5 percent of the workforce overall. But after decades of work, many aging farmers are comfortable. They’re making a good living likely own their farmland. And, although time is working against them, they’re in no hurry to give it up.
TUESDAY: Inevitably as they age, farmers can physically do less on their land. Sometimes, families anticipate the coming changes and plan for them. Often, transitions happen gradually…and in some unfortunate cases, change can be abrupt.
WEDNESDAY: It’s not just lifelong farmers who feel the pull of the land as they get older. For some Americans, retirement is an opportunity to begin the farming dream.
THURSDAY: A recent report from the Census Bureau that says from 2010 to 2012 — for the first time ever — the overall population in rural American counties declined. We look at a rural farm town in Illinois where civic responsibilities weigh heaviest on the older set.
FRIDAY: The average American farmer is getting older - most recent census data shows the average age is 57 - and while that tells us who is farming now, it also shows who’s not. While the farming community continues to age, fewer young people are filling the ranks.The question is raised: Do young people even want to farm anymore?