Monday, July 16, 2007

Older Farmers Becoming the Norm

The Associated Press has run a series of articles in the last few weeks about the aging of America's farmers.

PEMBERVILLE, Ohio (AP) - Like many farmers, Roger Burtchin is approaching an age when others are thinking about retiring. But he has no plans to stop planting corn and soybeans.

"Farming's one of those things that gets in your blood," he said. "Even when things get tough, you still enjoy it."

So many American farmers are working longer than ever before that one in four is at least 65 years old. Computerized gadgets that steer tractors and deliver feed to hogs allow farmers to work past traditional retirement ages. Many stay on because they don't have a retirement plan or because their children have no interest in farming.

Within the next decade those older farmers will be looking for someone to take over their operations and selling millions of acres of land.

Much of that land will be merged into bigger farms with fewer people working on them. Rural communities will lose even more young people, and a few will struggle for survival. Some stores that sell tractors and fertilizer will suffer.

No comments: