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Couple leaves pharmaceutical business to practice sustainable farming in Randolph County

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RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- For Mike Hansen and his wife, Sue Meyer, sustainable farming wasn’t just a choice, it was a necessity.

For Mike and Sue Hansen, sustainable farming wasn’t just a choice, it was a necessity.

They left good jobs in pharmaceuticals in Durham to begin farming in Randolph County.

“Sustainability for us means, number one, improving our soil,” Mike said. “Number two, focusing on breeds that are adapted to our area and the Pineywoods cattle is a good example of that. They were brought over by Spanish explorers in the early 1500s.”

It’s a healthier breed, Mike insists.

And their form of farming is catching on. Recently, the Hansens got some visitors – American ex-pats, who now live in Israel – who wanted to learn to farm the same way, so they came for a visit to see what they could soak in.

The American Israelis are newlyweds still in their 20s and they are living their lives differently, because of what they saw their parents go through during the Great Recession that began in 2007.

“Our generation saw their parents' future slip away,” says the groom of that couple, Rob Ben Or.

Rob wasn’t going to let his restaurant career catch him in the same trap.

“The kind of professional ladder gets really intense as you get into fine dining,” Rob said. “I was living in Chicago and I was just starting to get really burnt out, working a lot. I went on vacation, and decided to go there, spent 10 days just like travelling around and figured, sheesh, I'm in my early 20s. If I'm going to make a change life this, I should just do it.”

They’ve learned valuable farming lessons on their tour of the US.

“I think the biggest thing we've learned from this is how important community is,” Tracey Ben Or said.

Meet them and see what was behind Mike and Sue’s venture into farming in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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