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Ohio Valley Farmers in Their Own Words
6 minutes | May 1, 2020
Ep. 6: Looking Forward
In the final episode, I play a selection of quotes from farmers explaining what they’re optimistic about in the future of agriculture, and despite all the challenges addressed throughout the series, what makes them stay.
14 minutes | May 1, 2020
Ep. 5: Community Connections
Being able to build community among farmers, as well as between farmers and their customer base and neighbors, has a significant impact on the ability for small-to-midsize farms to thrive. In this episode, we hear how farmers’ markets and organizations help farmers find help, resources, and support. The Blends, Eric Freeland, and Mick Luber discuss the importance of engaging with customers to share their passion for food and farming.
13 minutes | May 1, 2020
Ep. 4: Labor
This episode explores issues faced by farmers in relation to the need for off-farm employment, such as health insurance and retirement benefits, as well as the long work hours associated with farming. We also hear some perspectives from farmers on how they find and manage additional employees.
16 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
Ep. 3: Land Tenure & Generational Transition
At the end of the Episode 2, Karen Cox mentions that the boom in oil and gas extraction throughout the region has boosted land prices, creating challenges for new farmers in their search for land tenure. This episode picks up with Eric and Brianna Blend, who are experiencing this issue firsthand. For farmers like Eric Freeland and William Thiele, who inherited their farmland, concern lies instead with who will take over the farm, and the family legacy, after they retire.
10 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
Ep. 2: Extractive Industry
This episode briefly explores some history of extractive industries in the region before expanding on the ways the oil and gas industry is affecting farmers. With WVU extension agent Karen Cox’s overarching explanations as a backdrop, we hear from Eric Freeland and Mick Luber, two farmers who grew up in this area and have watched the impact of extractive industries unfold over their lifetimes.
5 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
Ep. 1: Introduction
I introduce the broader topic and themes of social sustainability and preservation of small-to-midsize agriculture. I explain how I came to be interested in this issue through my graduate school studies, and that getting to know farmers personally and speaking with them about their experiences reignited my interest in social sustainability and enabled this project to take shape.
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