County Lines: Growing the Next Generation

County Lines is WYSO's series focusing on small towns and rural communities in the greater Dayton area. Funded by a grant from Ohio Humanities, Community Voices producer Renee Wilde travels down the highways and back roads to tell stories of country life that go beyond the stereotypes. This week, hear four short stories from County Lines about the next generation of Ohioans, and listen to more stories from the series at
Act 1: Aryn Copeland is a Senior at Wilmington College. She’s graduating with a degree in Agricultural Communications and is torn between two job offers—one in a rural community like the one she grew up in, and one in an urban area. In this interview with her professor Corey Cockerill, Aryn weighs the pros and cons of her decision in Corey’s office at the Robinson Communications Center on the Wilmington campus.

Act 2:  Aryn Copeland interviews her professor, Corey Cockerill, about her journey from the suburbs to rural life. Corey Cockerill teaches Agricultural Communications at Wilmington College, but she didn’t live in a rural area until about 10 years ago. Corey grew up in the city of Mount Vernon, but when she went away to college—she met and fell in love with a farmer. Corey now lives on a farm and is raising two young children in his remote hometown of just over a thousand residents.

Act 3: Future Farmers of America was founded in 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri as a way to educate the next generation of farmers. Today, FFA is a national organization for young people interested in leadership and agriculture. There are over a dozen local FFA chapters in the Miami Valley - including one at Northeastern High School in rural Clark County. Producer Anna Lurie went to Northeastern to learn about FFA and to teach the students a little bit about radio.

Act 4: Clubs like FFA, which stands for Future Farmers of America, serve as both social and educational roles in rural communities. Kayla Wise credits FFA for her decision to pursue an agricultural degree. Kayla also never believed in climate change until she took a class at Wilmington College called Individual and Global Policy. Lucy Enge was also in that class, and she asks Kayla how it affected her viewpoint on climate change.

And, later this year, join WYSO and Ohio Humanities again for the forthcoming series The Ohio Country. Native men and women from different tribes and their allies—plus teachers, artists, scholars, parents, landowners, foresters, young people, and historians, too—will tell their stories about the about the lands above the Ohio River, known as the Ohio Country. You can listen in this feed, at,, and in all those other places where you get podcasts.
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