America’s heartland is graying. The average age of a farmer in the U.S. is 58.3 — and that number has been steadily ticking upward for more than 30 years.
Overall, fewer young people are choosing a life on the land. But in some places around the country, like Maine, that trend is reversing. Small agriculture may be getting big again — and there’s new crop of farmers to thank for it.
On a windy hillside just a few miles from Maine’s rocky mid-coast, it’s 10 degrees; snow is crunching underfoot. Hairy highland cattle munch on flakes of hay and native Katahdin sheep are mustered in a white pool just outside the fence. Not far away, heritage chickens scuttle about a mobile poultry house that looks a bit like a Conestoga wagon.
Marya Gelvosa, majored in English literature and has never lived out in the country before. “Just a few years ago, if you’d told me that I was going to be a farmer, I would have probably laughed at you,” she says.