Modern Farmers Go From Rockers To Roots

Monday, March 25, 2019

Ohio has a long and rich farming history, but today less than a third of the state's farms remain. Every year 10 percent of small farms disappear. 

The climate change and political tariffs have made it harder for farmers to grow and sell crops and smaller farms can no longer compete against giant agribusinesses. The average age of a today’s farmer is 59, and the industry is having a hard time attracting new, younger people. 

Melissa Alexander has one piece of advice for young farmers just starting out, "Farming looks romantic. It really does. It’s beautiful. It’s seducing. But when you get out here and you're in the grit with it, your back’s gonna ache, you're gonna have blisters, your feet are gonna hurt. But you’ve got to love it, and want it."

Melissa and her husband Ryan own the Alexander Organic Farm in Wilmington, Ohio. It’s a cold winter day and we’re gathered in the Alexanders farm house. Seed catalogues are piled up on the table where Melissa’s busy feeding their 8 month old daughter Lily, whose just woken up from a nap.

Outside the window, snow covers the open fields and the cluster of red barns behind the house. In a few months, these barns and fields will be bustling.

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