Losing Farms, Adding Veterans: Gravy Episode 7

Alix Blair's math by hand.
Alix Blair’s math by hand.

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.

Veteran Fred Lewis' farm in Kentucky.
Veteran Fred Lewis’ farm in Kentucky.

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.

Listen here.