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auction on a freezing February afternoon on a family farm in Kansas everything must go from a tractor for one hundred eighty three thousand dollars down to a pile of loose change , all belong to Jim and Karen tap porn in a few hours it was over and so was the family farming tradition the tap points told their story to Reuters reporter PJ Hofstadter who was at the auction Jim Karen tapped horn have been farming for decades and their family has been farming in Kansas for more than a century what makes it harder right now not only for the top warrants but for so many farmers that are at that point of deciding whether to retire or not is the fact that grain prices have been well not just this year but it's been years of low grain prices the trade war two has been making it even more difficult because as China is no longer buying as many savings as it has in the past and that's been driving down prices fully beans are America's best selling agriculture products and while the break through trade deal between Washington and Beijing could still come it will be too late for the tap horns and many farmers who called it quits but it's not just the trade war or low grain prices or the fact that operating costs are rising fast there's also the issue that no one standing in the wings for farmers who are deciding that now is the time to retire it's typically a complicated decision a lot of times the question really is there's nobody to be able to help them gradually ease out of the operation and then take all the work on themselves and in that second generation or third or fourth generation yeah former retirement rates aren't tracked but federal data shows the average age of American farmers was fifty seven and a half in twenty seventeen and the number of midsize forms like the tap horns those with annual sales between fifty thousand and five million dollars is dwindling the tap points are close to seventy their kids have pursued other careers and so they will retire as landlords renting farmland for others to tell and read it on that last day the auctioneer told Karen tap , it's okay to shed a tear it's the end of an era