A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rural Blog: ‘Farmers for America’ documentary addresses the aging of the country’s farmers

A new documentary, “Farmers for America,” addresses big changes coming to the nation’s systems for growing, distributing and consuming food, and how America’s farmers are addressing them.

Farmers face changing consumer demands as more people shop at farmers’ markets, commit to eating more local food and try to learn more about where their food comes from.

Meanwhile, the face of farming is changing: the average age of a U.S. farmer is almost 60, which means half of America’s farmland will change hands in the next 12 years, Mary Alford reports for The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown, Ky.

After a screening of the film earlier this week, Elizabethtown farmers held a panel discussion. “I will tell you, everything that has happened in the movie has happened in Kentucky. I see it every day as I travel the state,” said Warren Beeler, director of the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy.

Caleb Ragland, who grows corn, soybeans and winter wheat and also raises hogs, said the film’s assessment of the declining number of farmers was accurate. “There are less of us that need to produce more. We have to teach the kids,” Ragland said, “We have to learn from the generations. We have to be paying attention, learning how to preserve our land.”

For more on the documentary, click here.

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The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.

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