Today, American Farmland Trust announces the premier of “Generation Farmer” — episode three of the eight-part BBC World News documentary series “Follow the Food.” “Generation Farmer” features AFT president and CEO John Piotti, AFT’s work helping young and beginning farmers access land and senior farmers retire, and farmers Josh Rockwood and Sandy Gordon, who connected through the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network.
“American agriculture faces a demographic tidal wave. Forty percent of U.S. agricultural land is owned by people age 65 and up, meaning over 371 million acres could change hands over the next 15 years as farmers retire. The good news is there’s an increasing crop of Americans who want to become farmers — but finding land to farm that’s affordable and suits their intended operation is a big hurdle,” Piotti said.
He continued, “On the other hand, senior farmers looking to fund their retirement often see selling their land to developers who can pay well as the only option. AFT works to address both these issues, helping aging farmers and ranchers take steps to keep their land in agriculture as we help new farmers find land and obtain the critical services they need to succeed. Connecting these two groups and making sure helpful programs and policies are put in place on a local, state and national level is key to the future of farming in America and one of AFT’s three core mission areas.”
BBC’s “Generation Farmer” focuses on the challenges facing new farmers around the world and highlights initiatives that are giving the next generation a helping hand. Piotti highlights the problem of land access for young farmers starting out in the United States — how someone with little or no family farming background and limited capital can make a start, or how an older farmer approaching retirement age can secure the future of his/her farm, perhaps with no heirs or with pressure to sell land out of farming.
Consult your television provider’s guide for information on where to view BBC World News. If you don’t have access via television, you can view it by signing up for free access to the live broadcast on the BBC World News webpage.
The program will re-air as follows: Saturdays (10:30 p.m. ET; 11:30 a.m. ET), Sundays (5:30 a.m. ET; 5:30 p.m. ET), Wednesdays (8:30 p.m. ET).