Family Farming


Family Farming

A New Economic Vision, New Edition

Marty Strange
With a new introduction by the author

326 pages
12 tables, 8 figures


June 2008


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Americans decry the decline of family farming but stand by helplessly as industrial agribusiness takes over. The prevailing sentiment is that family farms should survive for important social, ethical, and economic reasons. But will they? This timely book exposes the biases in American farm policies that irrationally encourage expansion, biases evident in federal commodity programs, income tax provisions, and subsidized credit services. Family Farming also exposes internal conflicts, particularly the conflict between the private interests of individual farmers and the public interest in family farming as a whole. It challenges the assumption that bigger is better, critiques the technological basis of modern agriculture, and calls for farming practices that are ethical, economical, and ecologically sound. The alternative policies discussed in this book could yet save the family farm, and the ways and means of saving it are argued here with special urgency.
This Bison Books edition includes a new introduction by the author providing a more national perspective, underscoring the repetitive cycles of American agriculture over the decade, and assessing the major policy issues that have dominated agriculture in recent years.

Author Bio

Marty Strange is policy director for the Rural School and Community Trust and was a founder of the Center for Rural Affairs, now located in Lyons, Nebraska. He received Common Cause’s Public Service Achievement Award and the Rural Sociological Society's Distinguished Service to Rural Life Award.


“No hand-wringing or resignation about the plight of American farmers here—finally, some fresh, original thinking about the farm crisis. Pulling no punches, Marty Strange cuts right to the value questions at stake in American agriculture. Revealing a rare blend of compassion and clear analytical thinking, Strange compellingly argues that Americans do have a choice. We can choose an agriculture that is fair, humane, and sustainable—and economically viable as well.”—Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet

"Strange's vision is clear and focused. It should be shared."—The Humanist

Family Farming easily puts Strange among the ranks of other brilliant critics of the agricultural establishment.”—Des Moines Register

"Family Farming is a thorough, clear, and practical introduction to the complex industry that modern agriculture has become. Anyone who doesn't want the next piece of agricultural legislation to slide past their consciousness as a set of superficial slogans must read this book."—Nina Murray, Nebraska Life

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Bison Books Edition
Chapter 1 - Farm Crisis Again
Chapter 2 - Industrializing American Agriculture
Chapter 3 - Land, the Central Issue
Chapter 4 - A Tale of Three Farms
Chapter 5 - The Myth That Bigger Is Better
Chapter 6 - Chasing the Myth: Big-Farm Blues
Chapter 7 - Living the Myth
Chapter 8 - The Market Trinity: Land, Prices, and Technology
Chapter 9 - Technology: Getting Control of the Farm
Chapter 10 - Within Family Farming
What Can Be Done? Policy Choices

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