The farming population is getting older
A new analysis shows a third of all U.S. farmers are now over the age of 65, and some are struggling to keep their operations going.
Some have even tried to start farms, like one woman who started an alpaca operation in 2014.
According to Mary Jane Cathews, “It’s not unusual for people in their 70s, like myself, to get into the business because they are relatively easy animals to take care of.”
However, she says that she needs help with various chores around the farm. That is where part-time hired hands come in.
“A lot of these older farmers need help and then they can’t afford to pay much, so you just go ahead and help them,” farmworker Keith Grove states. “There’s a lot of them out there and we got them coming every day and we’ve had to turn people away because we just don’t have enough hours in the day... and there’s probably ain’t enough of us to go around and help.”
According to the 2017 census of agriculture, the average age of the U.S. farmer is 57.