Education for the Next Generation of Farmers.

Hanging on our wall is a picture taken years ago of Gary Rhoades, an early beef processing customer and This Old Farm Alliance farmer. Unfortunately like so many, Gary is no longer with us in physical form though his story is told with each tour done at This Old Farm. The average age of the American farmer today is between 57 and 62 years of age. We are losing our farmers daily and not seeing them replaced fast enough. Farming is meant to have a generational knowledge and asset base. Land passes down from generation to generation along with the knowledge as to how to care for that land. Unfortunately there is now a large generational gap in knowledge due to generations leaving the farm for urban jobs. As a first generation farmer, I know how hard it is to access land and learn how to farm without the family history. I have been seeking that knowledge actively for 18 years and there is still so much I do not know. I see this same struggle each day as new farmers come into our doors. They often get started raising livestock because the land needs are less than if they jumped into commodity crops. They are still learning how to ensure they make money off the animals they bring in, while trying to increase quality as they learn. This Old Farm is proud to help those that want more information. While education happens daily through answering questions, we also enjoy touring students and being invited to speak or be part of a focus group. One day last month when I was feeling especially discouraged about the amount of work to be done for beginning farmers, I took time to look at the calendar and see that in one day we…….

-Educated an FFA group from Iowa about meat processing through a tour.
-Educated a group of 4H students through our “Offal Petting Zoo” during a spook fest in Southern Indiana
-Educated a group of food service staff, teachers, farmers, and community activists during the Montgomery County Local Food Summit

That was a great day to see the Mission of This Old Farm being carried out.

All beginning farmers (under 10 years in agriculture) will receive 10% off a single days processing appointments and a free quality grade and yield when you mention #FarmBeginnings.

Jessica

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