NET Explores Trends in Ag Land Ownership and the Future of Rural America

News Release Date: 
July 18, 2013

For Immediate Release

NET Explores Trends in Ag Land Ownership and the Future of Rural America

LINCOLN, Neb. (July 18, 2013) -- Farmers who are more than 65 years old make up the fastest growing group of agricultural producers in the U.S. and their impending retirement will change the face of Nebraska’s largest industry, as well as those in neighboring agricultural states. By some estimates, more than half of the farmland in the U.S. could change hands during the next generation and thousands of farm families will be forced to decide whether to buy, hold or sell their land.

As older farmers retire, their land will change hands, but who takes over and how that happens will reshape the agriculture industry. NET News and Harvest Public Media  examine changing trends in land ownership and what they mean to farm families and rural communities in two programs airing Friday, Aug. 2, on NET Television and NET Radio.

First at 7 p.m. CT on NET1/HD, in “Changing Lands, Changing Hands,” NET News visits with landowners who are selling and those who are hanging on to their acres; families who are passing land from one generation to another in a traditional way; and smaller, alternative farmers who plant their business on just a few acres. NET News reporters/producers Grant Gerlock, Mike Tobias and Ryan Robertson will contribute to the television special.

Following at 7:30 p.m. CT on NET1/HD, agricultural and economic experts will visit with Gerlock in a 30-minute discussion program, “How Can We Save Rural America?” The program will be simulcast on NET Radio, also at 7:30 p.m. CT. Guests include former Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Maxine Moul, who is now the Nebraska State Director of USDA Rural Development, and Caleb Pollard who is co-founder of Scratchtown Brewing Company in Ord, Neb. Pollard recently served as executive director of the Valley County Economic Development Board.

The two programs, “Changing Lands, Changing Hands,” and “How Can We Save Rural America” will also available for viewing online on both the NET website (netNebraska.org/news) and the Harvest Public Media site (harvestpublicmedia.org).

Funding for Harvest Public Media comes from a three-year grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The initiative is intended to combine resources and strengthen collaboration among several Midwest public broadcasting stations. As part of the grant, NET participates in a Midwest Local Journalism Center (LJC) with partners KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Mo.; Iowa Public Radio; KBIA-FM in Columbia, Mo.; KUNC in Greeley, Colo., and WUIS in Springfield, Ill.

NET1/HD is part of NET Television. NET Television and NET Radio are services of NET. For more information about NET programming, go to netNebraska.org and click on television or radio.

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NET News contact: Grant Gerlock, 402-472-9333, ext. 346, or e-mail at ggerlock@netNebraska.org

Release written by: Kim Rogers, 402-472-9333, ext. 512, or e-mail krogers@netNebraska.org

NET Television:

NET1is Nebraska's first public television broadcast service and includes PBS and award-winning, locally produced public television programming. NET2 World offers live coverage of the Nebraska Unicameral, and other news and public affairs programming; NET3 Create is a 24-hour channel featuring the most popular how-to, travel and lifestyle series; and NET-HD presents high-definition digital broadcast programming displayed in a wide-screen format.

NET Radio:

Broadcasts on the following frequencies: Alliance/91.1 FM; Bassett/90.3 FM; Chadron/91.9 FM; Columbus/90.3 FM; Culbertson/92.7 FM; Falls City/88.9 FM; Harrison/89.5 FM; Hastings/Grand Island/89.1 FM; Lexington/88.7 FM; Lincoln/91.1 FM; Max/93.3 FM; Merriman/91.5 FM; Norfolk/89.3 FM; and North Platte/91.7 FM.