When radio producer Alix Blair wanted to find out how many farms the South had lost in recent years, she had to resort to some old-fashioned arithmetic. The USDA Farmland Census provided numbers of farms by state, but if you wanted a bigger regional picture—you had to do the numbers.
What Alix found after her calculations is astonishing: the South lost close to 50,000 farms in the five years between 2007 and 2012. That amounts to a mass exodus.
But the reason Alix was hunting for these numbers might hold a potential solution. The story she tells on the new episode of Gravy is about a pair of veterans who found agriculture after war. And they have a vision of what returning soldiers could mean for farming that, if it proves successful, could change the South.