NORTH CENTRE TOWNSHIP, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Farmers are battling the rising costs of things like gas and fertilizer alongside labor shortages.
Eyewitness News stopped by farms and schools across our area to answer the question, who is the future of agriculture in the commonwealth?
“It’s about 125 acres. It lies here in North Centre Township,” said Delroy Artman, 3rd generation farmer.
“My grandfather and grandmother Clarke and Caroline Artman moved here in 1910. My dad was born here in the farmhouse around 1916. And they actually bought the farm in 1919,” said Artman.
3rd generation farmer Delroy Artman says Pennsylvanian agriculture is changing by the minute.
“We used to be able to just plow the field, and work it down that has completely changed now,” Artman said.
Eyewitness News asked, so if a young person wanted to buy a farm today how much it cost?
“Probably around $2 million at least,” Artman said.
The 25-year-old student male or female, purchases land that they need, to ensure that land. It’s devastating. It’s almost impossible to do,” explained Doug Brown, Agricultural Science instructor, Central Columbia High School.
But today’s students and tomorrow’s farmers are hopeful.
“I believe in the future of agriculture,” one student said.
However, only 150 of Pennsylvania’s 501 public schools offer agricultural education, and Central Columbia High School in Bloomsburg, Columbia County is one of them.
“I never would have thought what I’d end up doing was driving tractors in the middle of school,” said Owen Berlin, 12-grade student.
So why is agriculture just as important to learn about as reading or math?
“Without it, we won’t survive as a society,” said Brown.
Students are the learning the answers to questions everyone should know about.
“Imagine this. You’re walking through the grocery store looking for container steaks to purchase. Reading the labels, you find steaks labeled as all-natural, organic, and grass-fed. Which one do you choose,” said Becca Lehman, 11-grade student.
In an ever-changing field, today’s ag students will be tomorrow’s problem solvers.
Research, problem-solving, and new issues every day in agriculture just like in society. There are concerns that we have that pop-up. What was a concern 10 years ago might not be a concern today,” Brown said.
Who is the future of agriculture in the commonwealth?
Brent Sokol, Becca Lehman, Owen Berlin, and thousands of students across the state who might be the next Clarke and Caroline Artman.
A bright future across the Pennsylvania farming horizon.