Perspectives From Pennsylvania’s Farm Country, November 2020 | November 2 2020

As reported on, November 2, 2020.  Photography by Caroline Tompkins:

This year has been particularly tough for farmers. President Trump’s antagonistic trade policies saw family farm bankruptcies reach their highest level since 2011, catastrophic weather events caused by climate change battered large parts of the country and the coronavirus pandemic has frozen the restaurant industry around the world, disrupting the supply chains that U.S. farmers rely on.

Meanwhile, much has been written about Pennsylvania’s significance to this election, the “farmer’s vote”, and its projected outcome. In response to this, Caroline Tompkins documented the farming community in rural western Pennsylvania, and spoke to real people about their motivations and goals at this moment in time.

Dale Tudor, 69 (left), Marcy Tudor, 73 (middle) and Nigel Tudor, 39 (right) own and operate Weatherbury
farm. They produce certified organic stone ground flours, beans, rolled oats, as well as grass-fed beef and lamb.

Weatherbury offers its customers a rather uniquely innovative experience. Each bag of flour they sell has a
“grain tracker” QR code which, when scanned, will offer information on how the grain was grown, the
history of the farm, the variety, and the health benefits. They note that increased consumer interest in
traceability and transparency was the driver for this.

For Nigel Tudor, there is a sense of ethical responsibility underpinning
his approach to farming. ‘We mill, each month, only the grains we grow, one of only
a handful of farms in the USA that operate this way.  Philosophically, it
seems like the right thing to do—grow wheat locally to make bread.’

‘Our farm is certified organic,’ says Tudor. ‘That means we use no GMOs,
pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or chemical fertilizers.  We have a handful
of customers who thought they were gluten intolerant but can eat products made
with our flours.  We feel that they are really pesticide intolerant.’