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Introduction to Episode 5: A Snapshot of Family Farming Amid Cycles of Modernization and Migration

My family comes from a long line of farmers. The Torgersons, whose original surname, Drevdal, reflected the “dal” or valley they farmed in Norway, have farmed for as far back as we have record of, at least the 1500s, but likely longer. The Drevdals immigrated to the U.S. in 1853 and have been farming in Montana for five generations now. This story is dedicated to my agrarian ancestors and my Dad, uncle and cousin who continue raising crops and livestock on the Northern Great Plains today.

Episode 5: A Snapshot of Family Farming Amid Cycles of Modernization and Migration is a blend of history and memoir. It shares how my family keeps our farming legacy going despite harsh weather, an unfavorable commodity market and a dwindling population. It explores how waves of modernization, industrialization, migration and a world economic system have impacted rural communities and farm families like my own.

As my cousin said, "It used to be 200 acres was a big farm and then it was 2,000 acres. And now there’s 20,000 and 50,000 acre farms in our area, just to make it go. And I wish that somehow people were more educated on not just prices, but on agriculture in general - where it all comes from just like what you’re trying to explain it to people. I really wish the country knew that more."

I hope that this intimate story of resilience does just that.

Yours,

Megan Torgerson

Reframing Rural Founder & Producer