Part 2 of the Harvest Desk's series Changing Lands, Changing Hands travels to Iowa. Driving out of the town of Panora, in the western part of the state, the winding roads offer broad vistas of rolling hills. Many of the mailboxes along Redwood Road show the name Arganbright. Jim Arganbright grew up in this area, one of 10 children. He and his wife, Beverly, have eight kids.
The aging of the American farmer is reshaping the rural economy. Reporter Grant Gerlock of Harvest Public Media and NET News in Nebraska begins the series "Changing Lands, Changing Hands" by checking in on the fastest growing group of farmers in the U.S. - those age 65 and older.
Working beyond retirement is a fairly common refrain these days. In 2012, 5 percent of the U.S. workforce was beyond retirement age. But farmers seem to work longer than most. In the last Agriculture Census 25 percent of all farm operators were over 65 years old.
This is the fifth installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.
Kelly Hagler, 25, is among the millions of young people who have left rural communities for the bright lights of the city, in this case Chicago.
This is the fourth installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.
Trent Johnson didn’t grow up on a farm, but he was always enamored with the cowboy lifestyle.
Jackie Dougan Jackson grew up like many farm kids. She spent sunbaked summer hours detasseling corn, tending the crops so it can be pollinated. For farm kids, detasseling is one of the ultimate chores. For the 85-year-old Jackson, those memories still put a song in her heart.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media
One of the U.S. Geological Survey teams collecting water samples and checking cages for fish eggs in Missouri this summer: biologist Diana Papoulias, chemist Dave Alvarez, hydrologist Peter Van Metre, biologist Diane Nicks and environmental toxicologist Don Tillitt.
Midwest waterways are getting lots of attention this summer. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency have immersed themselves in the ecology of 100 streams from Ohio to Nebraska. It’s a first-of-its kind effort to understand how ag runoff is not just changing the water but affecting the critters that live there. Harvest Public Media’s Abbie Fentress Swanson joined a crew on a rainy day while they gathered water samples and searched for fish eggs on three streams in central Missouri.
Hog farmer Bob Young had to overcome lawsuits from his neighbors before building his confinement facility near Rochester. Says Young: “There are a few (city people) that come out here and think we got to change everything so we can make it city living. And that won’t work.”
Individual state constitutions across the nation spell out a host of guaranteed rights for their citizens. For example, same sex marriage or collective bargaining. But what about the right to farm? From the WUIS Harvest Desk, Bill Wheelhouse reports on a drive to establish that guarantee:
The way hog farmer Bob Young sees it, city people just don’t understand farmers.
“There are a few that come out here and think we got to change everything so we can make it city living,” he said. “And that won’t work.”
My Farm Roots, a series from WUIS and Harvest Public Media, tells Americans’ stories and memories of rural life. Because when you hail from farm country, roots run deep. Times are good on the farm right now, but that hasn’t always been true. Many of today’s young farmers grew up in the shadow of the farm crisis on the 1980's and watched as rural areas were ripped apart by debt and foreclosures. Those hard times will always stay with them. Today, an Iowa farmer tells his story:
As Congress fiddles with major farm legislation, there’s a portion of it that gets very little attention. Some say it is a difference-maker for job creation in small rural communities,and provides a boost those towns need.
Community gardens are cropping up in urban areas across the country. They’re a way for those without the yard space to grow their own food. Kemia Sarraf is the founder and president of the local group gen H Kids, which stands for Generation Healthy. She tells WUIS’ Rachel Otwell about how the group is bringing a new community garden to Springfield: