Sen. Franken emphasizes the need to pass on family farms - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Sen. Franken emphasizes the need to pass on family farms


NEAR HAMMOND, Minn. (KTTC) -- The economy has played a role in the changing landscape of American homes and families, and it hasn't left the agriculture industry untouched. Monday afternoon Senator Franken took time to hear area farmers concerns. A key issue is whether or not farmers will be able to make a living and pass on their family farm to the next generation.

A new legislative push by the United States Department of Labor could forever change the way family farms operate, and Ed Jostocks farm is no exception.

"The kids come with a good work ethic that come to farms," said Ed Jostock.

The Jostock family farm is now in its fourth generation. The key component to the operation is "family".

Proposed legislation would prohibit those younger than 16 from operating power-driven equipment and those under 18 from working with livestock. Ed raised all of his kids to work on the farm, something his son, Al wouldn't have any other way.

"I've always worked on the farm and I think it's a good upbringing to be honest with you," stated Al Jostock.

Senator Al Franken said he doesn't believe the proposed legislation will make it very far, but he understands farmers concerns.

"You want kids to be able to work with livestock and learn the ways of farming," said Senator Franken.

Even keeping the family farm is becoming increasingly hard as the price of feed, land and other farm inputs continue to increase.

"We need the land to grow crops on for our livestock, we got to have that competitive too, so we can afford to stay in the dairy and hog business," said Ed.

Ed stated that it's all about affordability, from the farm to the consumers tables.

Franken pointed out that the average age of a Minnesota farmer is mid-50's. As they continue to age, it's all the more important the farm is passed on to future generations.

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