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"There's a lot of volunteerism that goes on that I don't think is shown in the public eye as much. Pick the town of Grafton where I'm from, or the farm is. Several of those [farmers] are on the farm boards or the school boards, fire department board, our EMTs. Yeah, they're busy every night of the week with a civic event."
     [Question:] "Yeah. One of the reasons for that, of course, is the declining number of farms."
     "Sure."
     [Question:] "And if I can push you a little bit on this, some people might say that you're one of the reasons for that – the fact that you're continuing to get larger and larger and larger. How do you reconcile that?"
     "It's hard. There's just not a lot of – You know, I guess the biggest issue is that there just isn't a whole lot of young people that have the ability to come back and do this. And albeit what it is I would appreciate having more people my age in the farm community, if it could be done. It's just when the average age of the farmer is closer to 60 than 40 it's kind of the writing on the wall. And it's the 40-year-olds right now that are kind of transitioning into those civic jobs that the older generation [used to do]. Or maybe it'll be the 30-year-olds transitioning into the jobs, and they're busy people."
     [Question:] "How important is religion in rural America?"
     "I think it's very important… I think that people become more involved with the rural communities just out of necessity. When I was with the church of 50 people, I mean, you were a board member or you were an elder or something. You had a job. And so you felt kind of a connection to everything. I think when you get to the larger city the congregation of 7,000 to 8,000 people there's probably a disconnect from the fact that, 'I don't have to be as involved.'"

Troy Otte – Who Runs Rural Communities?

   

Excerpts from Troy Otte’s Interview:

Logic of Large Farms
Starting Up in the 80s
Why be a Farmer?
Investing in Ethanol
Fertilizer Efficiency
Genetic Engineering
Are Pivots Worth the Cost?
Computers on the Farm