HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM)– When you go to Washington County, you’ll see many farms. Agriculture is the biggest sector of Washington County’s economy. John Krowka is an organic farmer who believes more needs to be done to educate the youth about farming in the county.
“They’re not looking at other areas, winemaking, cheese making, aquaponics and they need to teach the kids the ag skills of the future,” said Krowka.
Krowka is not alone. He and two other farmers came together for a forum to discuss issues farmers face. Katie Dotterer-Pyle agreed with Krowka, saying there is a lot of misinformation out there related to farms and farming.
“I have a hashtag that I use it’s; #askfarmersnotgoogle. we are the people who produce the food. If you want to know where your food is coming from, if you want to know what’s going into it, ask a farmer. We’re on social media,” said Katie Dotterer-Pyle.
Krowka and Dotterer-Pyle agreed that tariffs imposed as a result of the China-United States trade war have negatively impacted farmers. The U.S put 25 percent tariffs on imported raw materials. Krowka says, as a result, prices for products such as soybeans are down.
“Nationally, we have seen there are a lot of farm foreclosures, high suicide rates among farmers, it’s really hurting the small farmers,” said Krowka.
Stephen Ernst is a Clear Spring farmer. He says while there may be misleading information out there related to farming, he has seen concerted efforts by local governments to reach out to farmers.
“The economic development people in Washington County have a full-time agriculture person, Leslie Hart, who does a super job of interacting with the community. Cooperative extension, our agent, Jeff Semler, they have always been very strong at getting the community and the farm community there act together,” said Ernst.