Family roots keep farm strong

David Goodlett, left, and his father, Jerry, right, would like to see something done to encourage more people to farm. “If they don’t start promoting it with young people, there will be nothing left,” David Goodlett said.

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

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The average age of a farmer today is 58, according to the USDA. Over one third of all farmers—33 percent—are 65 years old or older.

 Mercer County farmer David Goodlett graduated from Mercer County High School in 1999. He has been farming full-time since 2001. David said not many of his classmates went into farming. Those that did only farm part-time.

According to the 2012 USDA Farm Census, there are 1,067 farms in Mercer County. The average farm size is 135 acres. But the majority of farmers— 631—are only part-time producers. They have to work an outside job to make a living.

“I know without my dad I wouldn’t have started a farm and done all that,” David said. “The finances and stuff—it wouldn’t have happened.” 

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