Number of farmers decreasing

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Farmers help drive our economy, but the Midwest Farm Show director said there are fewer farmers each year, and family farms appear to struggle to survive.

On Tuesday, the 36th annual Midwest Farm Show wrapped up in La Crosse.

Midwest Farm Show director Bill Henry said the number of farmers has been declining over the years.

He said now is the time to try to conserve farm land.

“It seems now all of the family farms are trying to hang on to it, because when the land’s gone they won’t make any more land,” said Henry.

“It’s a major concern, because I want my son to be able to farm,” said farmer Doug Fries.

Doug Fries started his own farm 33 years ago.

He said he enjoys it, because of the variety of opportunities.

“Just like to grow things, like to produce things, and it’s just a good profession to be in,” said Fries.

Farmers said it’s an important industry, because it helps keep food on the table.

Tom Dubbels' farm has been in his family for four generations.

He said it's important to get younger people involved in farming, to help the industry thrive.

“We’ve got kids out there now, that have no idea where their food is coming from. They think it’s just go to the grocery store and pick it up,” said Dubbels.

Riley Hanson is the president of the Future Farmers of America Chapter at Melrose-Mindoro High School.

He said the best way to get young people involved in farming is to raise awareness.

“Get them active, show them what’s all about, show them where their food comes from, what it’s like to be a farmer for maybe just a day even,” said Hanson.

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