One third of all US farmers are now over the age of 65, and some of them are physically struggling to keep farms going. Some are even trying to start farms, like Mary Jane Cathers of Virginia, who started an alpaca farm in 2014.
“It’s not unusual for people in their 70s like myself to get in to the business because they’re relatively easy animals to take care of.”
But she still needs help with things like shoveling manure and feeding the animals. And it’s older farmers like Mary Jane who are needing part time hired hands.
“Yeah a lot of these are older farmers they need help and they can’t afford to pay much so you just go and help em,” said Keith Grove. He and his wife Dawn work at Mary Jane’s farm Monday Wednesday and Friday and the rest of the week they do similar odd jobs for other aging farmers.
“There’s a lot of them out there and we got them coming every day and we’re turning people away because we just don’t have enough hours in a day.”
Grove added, across the farmers more are needing people like the Groves, but there are probably not enough workers to go around.
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