TV Special: Watch the TV Special
5-Part Radio Series: Listen below.
Farmers are getting older. They’re working longer, staying on the land later and continuing to do what they’ve done for decades: heading out day after day after day to work their land.
In 1978, the average age of the American farmer was just over 50. In 2007, it’s creeping toward 60, at just over 57 years old. What does that mean for the agriculture industry? We want to answer that question by focusing on this massive demographic shift that affects not just rural America but the power and potential of an entire industry.
Changing Lands, Changing Hands, a production of NET News (Nebraska) and Harvest Public Media, examines the implications of a large amount of land--and wealth--changing hands in the next few decades. What will be the effects on the farmers, consumers, local communities, the agriculture industry and our nation?
Part 1: Retirement? Not on the Farm
Twenty-five percent of farm operators are over 65. Why do farmers keep working? Modern machinery makes it easier to work longer. Many farmers are making more money today than ever before thanks to higher yields and high grain prices. Also, some farmers just won't quit. Listen to/read part 1.
Part 2: Turmoil in Farm Transitions
How land gets passed from one generation to the next can vary widely. And not all farmers plan ahead for the change. Even as the average age of farmers creeps upward, few families make all the plans they could for smooth transitions. Listen to/read part 2.
Part 3: Retiring to the Farm Anything But Quiet
It’s not just lifelong farmers who feel the pull of the land as they get older. For some Americans, retirement is an opportunity to begin the farming dream. Listen to/read part 3.
Part 4: A Civic Lesson for Rural Towns
Better established farmers are often very active in the civic life of communities, but as the farmers continue to grow older that leadership diminishes. Listen to/read part 4.
Part 5: Young Dreams, Huge Obstacles
Young people still want to farm, but in smaller numbers and in different ways. It can be difficult to turn dreams of a farm life into reality. Listen to/read part 5.
Harvest Public Media reports on farm and food issues in collaboration with public media stations across the Midwest. For more information, go to HarvestPublicMedia.org.
The TED Radio Hour, a new weekly program airing at 3 pm Saturdays on WILL-AM, uses compelling excerpts from the TED talks as a jumping off point, and goes on to find out more from some of the world’s most remarkable minds. Host Guy Raz interviews the guests, delving deeper, dissecting the speaker’s ideas and posing probing questions you’d like to hear answered.
The NPR program is a journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions and new ways to think and create. Topics the series explores include mankind’s place in the universe and space, how the sounds around us affect our behavior and why there is power in failure.
Another new program, Radiolab, joins the AM schedule at 2 pm Saturdays, Radiolab explores themes and ideas through a patchwork of people, sounds and stories. The program experiments with sound and style, allowing science to fuse with culture, and information to sound like music. Find out more.
The programs replace The Midnight Special with Rich Warren, which moves to 7-9 pm Saturdays on WILL-FM.
On July 1, WILL-AM 580 began airing a midday news program, Here & Now, co-hosted by Champaign-Urbana native Jeremy Hobson, as it became NPR’s replacement for Talk of the Nation, which has ended production.
Hobson, who grew up in Urbana and worked at WILL-AM early in his career, was formerly host of Marketplace Morning Report, heard on many NPR stations, including WILL-AM.
Here & Now, produced at Boston-based public radio station WBUR, has expanded to two hours and added Hobson as a co-host as NPR redirects resources to support news coverage, rather than call-in talk programming, through the middle of the day.
Airing on WILL-AM from 12 to 2 pm Monday-Thursday and 12 to 1 pm on Friday, the program offers numerous opportunities for WILL to add segments of locally produced news and feature content to be incorporated in the mix of stories, said Kimberlie Kranich, director of community content and engagement at Illinois Public Media. WILL-AM’s The Afternoon Magazine has been absorbed into the new program. The type of local content previously included in that show, including agricultural and local news updates, will air in segments of Here & Now, she said. Jason Croft, a longtime technical director and audio producer at WILL Radio, is WILL-AM's local on-air host for Here & Now.
Hobson is working with longtime Here & Now host Robin Young, and with his former WILL-AM colleague Alex Ashlock, who is the producer of Here & Now. Hobson was an intern at NPR’s All Things Considered when he was 17, and since then has gained deep experience as a public radio producer, reporter and host.
Here & Now has been produced by WBUR since 1997, and became a national program in 2001. The show airs on more than 180 stations, including eight top-25 market news stations. The expanded edition of the program, produced in collaboration with NPR, has a dedicated producer at NPR headquarters to help get NPR bloggers, reporters, and editors onto the program.
WILL-AM continues to air Focus from 10-11 am, Fresh Air from 11 am-noon, and the Closing Market Report at 2 pm. Science Friday with Ira Flatow continues to air at 1 pm on Fridays.