Farms and farming
On this page are links to articles about farms, farmers, and farming from feed grains to forestry, about the strip-mining and reclamation of prime farmlands and polluted runoff from farm fields, about agribusiness and ag policy, about the farm economy and rural Illinois.
I came from farm people—people who farmed, who sold machines to farmers and lent money to farmers and bought and sold the things farmers made. I grew up in in a state in which city folks are as perfectly surrounded by farms as Hebrideans are by water. The first two pieces I sold to national magazines were about farming and farmers.
During my 40-year career, the family farmer became the agribusinessman, the grain-and-hog farm became an outdoor factory, and agriculture completed its evolution from growing food for people to producing feedstocks for industry—much to lament, but more happily, much to write about. My pieces gradually became more critical and my prose more pointed but that had no effect on public debate whatsoever. Farming still enjoys a privileged place in Illinois culture and politics that I think the industry is less and less entitled to.
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