Hometown Farmer: Ag Census Update

You can find Andrew O'Neal's farm outside of Whiting, Iowa.And if you sit down and talk to him he can tell you who inspired him to start farming when he got out of the United States Air Force in 1960."My dad," said O'Neal.But the origins of his nick-name, "Bud," are harder to track down."My mother says I named myself, I have no idea," said "Bud," smiling.Bud is 76 years old, he retired from farming in the year 2000.In fact, it would be rare if he was still farming, according to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture only around 10% of Iowa farmers are older than 75.The average age of a farmer in Iowa is 55, but new farmers are really taking off.In Iowa around 20% of farmers have been at it for less than 10 years and 22% of farmers across America are just getting started, too.Bud's age and medical problems, like diabetes, keep him from working on the farm now."I try to not think about it too much, you know," said Bud.But his farm has been passed on, his son Dennis is keeping the farm in the family.And even though he can't help out much anymore, Bud still likes to check in on Dennis every now and then."I try to make sure he's doing it right," said Bud, laughing.More and more information from the USDA census of agriculture is being released all the time.If you'd like to check it out yourself, please visit: www.agcensus.usda.govIf you know of a farmer you'd like to nominate to be featured on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," pleas email Jake at: jheller@siouxlandnews.com
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