front cover of Agricultural Productivity and Producer Behavior
Agricultural Productivity and Producer Behavior
Edited by Wolfram Schlenker
University of Chicago Press, 2019
Agricultural yields have increased steadily in the last half century, particularly since the Green Revolution. At the same time, inflation-adjusted agricultural commodity prices have been trending downward as increases in supply outpace the growth of demand. Recent severe weather events, biofuel mandates, and a switch toward a more meat-heavy diet in emerging economies have nevertheless boosted commodity prices. Whether this is a temporary jump or the beginning of a longer-term trend is an open question. Agricultural Productivity and Producer Behavior examines the factors contributing to the remarkably steady increase in global yields and assesses whether yield growth can continue. This research also considers whether agricultural productivity growth has been, and will be, associated with significant environmental externalities. Among the topics studied are genetically modified crops; changing climatic factors; farm production responses to government regulations including crop insurance, transport subsidies, and electricity subsidies for groundwater extraction; and the role of specific farm practices such as crop diversification, disease management, and water-saving methods. This research provides new evidence that technological as well as policy choices influence agricultural productivity. 

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Amber Waves
The Extraordinary Biography of Wheat, from Wild Grass to World Megacrop
Catherine Zabinski
University of Chicago Press, 2020
A biography of a staple grain we often take for granted, exploring how wheat went from wild grass to a world-shaping crop.

At breakfast tables and bakeries, we take for granted a grain that has made human civilization possible, a cereal whose humble origins belie its world-shaping power: wheat. Amber Waves tells the story of a group of grass species that first grew in scattered stands in the foothills of the Middle East until our ancestors discovered their value as a source of food. Over thousands of years, we moved their seeds to all but the polar regions of Earth, slowly cultivating what we now know as wheat, and in the process creating a world of cuisines that uses wheat seeds as a staple food. Wheat spread across the globe, but as ecologist Catherine Zabinski shows us, a biography of wheat is not only the story of how plants ensure their own success: from the earliest bread to the most mouthwatering pasta, it is also a story of human ingenuity in producing enough food for ourselves and our communities.

Since the first harvest of the ancient grain, we have perfected our farming systems to grow massive quantities of food, producing one of our species’ global mega crops—but at a great cost to ecological systems. And despite our vast capacity to grow food, we face problems with undernourishment both close to home and around the world. Weaving together history, evolution, and ecology, Zabinski’s tale explores much more than the wild roots and rise of a now-ubiquitous grain: it illuminates our complex relationship with our crops, both how we have transformed the plant species we use as food, and how our society—our culture—has changed in response to the need to secure food sources. From the origins of agriculture to gluten sensitivities, from our first selection of the largest seeds from wheat’s wild progenitors to the sequencing of the wheat genome and genetic engineering, Amber Waves sheds new light on how we grow the food that sustains so much human life.

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American Agriculture, Water Resources, and Climate Change
Edited by Gary D. Libecap and Ariel Dinar
University of Chicago Press, 2024

A collection of the most advanced and authoritative agricultural-economic research in the face of increasing water scarcity.

Agriculture has been critical in the development of the American economy. Except in parts of the western United States, water access has not been a critical constraint on agricultural productivity, but with climate change, this may no longer be the case. This volume highlights new research on the interconnections between American agriculture, water resources, and climate change. It examines climatic and geologic factors that affect the agricultural sector and highlights historical and contemporary farmer responses to varying conditions and water availability. It identifies the potential effects of climate change on water supplies, access, agricultural practices, and profitability, and analyzes technological, agronomic, management, and institutional adjustments. Adaptations such as new crops, production practices, irrigation technologies, water conveyance infrastructure, fertilizer application, and increased use of groundwater can generate both social benefits and social costs, which may be internalized with various institutional innovations. Drawing on both historical and present experiences, this volume provides valuable insights into the economics of water supply in American agriculture as climate change unfolds.


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The American Farmer and the Export Market
Austin Dowell
University of Minnesota Press, 1934
The American Farmer and the Export Market was first published in 1934. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.Shall we isolate ourselves behind the walls of national self-sufficiency and do without what we cannot produce? Or shall we try to break down trade barriers and restore export markets? How can we escape the intolerable combination of abundance and poverty?“We have enough resources in the United States to provide for twice our present standard of living,” Secretary Wallace has asserted. This book is the most comprehensive analysis yet published of the problems that must be solved, the long-time plans that must be thought out, before America can abolish its “rural slums” and achieve the full benefit of its enormous resources.Self-sufficiency and continued or increased exportation each has its price. Professors Dowell and Jesness show just what we may expect to gain or to lose from reducing production, shifting crops, abandoning sub-marginal land, boosting farm prices, and legislating trade barriers. They point out the relationship between agricultural and industrial recovery and between our policy in regard to world markets and the possibility of collecting our foreign debts.The authors present facts, not theories – the pertinent facts on both sides of the most vital question that the American farmer faces today – After the AAA, what?

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America's Private Forests
Status And Stewardship
Constance Best and Laurie A. Wayburn; Foreword by John Gordon
Island Press, 2001

Nearly 430 million acres of forests in the United States are privately owned, but the viability, and indeed the very existence, of these forests is increasingly threatened by population growth, sprawling urbanization, and patchwork development. Scientists, policymakers, and community leaders have begun to recognize the vital role of private forests in providing society with essential goods and services, from sustainable timber supplies to clean water. Yet despite the tremendous economic and ecological importance of private forests, information about their status and strategies for their protection have been in short supply.

America's Private Forests addresses that shortcoming, presenting extensive data gathered from diverse sources and offering a concise overview of the current status of privately owned forests in the United States. As well as describing the state of private forests, the book sets forth detailed information on a wide range of approaches to conservation along with an action agenda for implementing those strategies likely to be most effective. The book:

  • identifies the major threats to private forests in the United States
  • considers barriers to conservation
  • outlines the available tools and programs for promoting conservation
  • presents a "road map" to guide collective efforts for the conservation of private forests and their native biodiversity

Based on extensive research of existing literature as well as interviews and consultation with leading forestry and conservation experts, America's Private Forests is a unique sourcebook that offers a solid basis for discussion of threats to private forests along with an invaluable compendium of potential solutions. It will serve as an invaluable reference for all those working to conserve and steward forest resources, including forest owners and their consultants, conservation organizations, and agency personnel, as well as researchers and students involved with issues of forestry, biodiversity, land use, and conservation.


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Animals as Food
(Re)connecting Production, Processing, Consumption, and Impacts
Amy J. Fitzgerald
Michigan State University Press, 2015
Every day, millions of people around the world sit down to a meal that includes meat. This book explores several questions as it examines the use of animals as food: How did the domestication and production of livestock animals emerge and why? How did current modes of raising and slaughtering animals for human consumption develop, and what are their consequences? What can be done to mitigate and even reverse the impacts of animal production? With insight into the historical, cultural, political, legal, and economic processes that shape our use of animals as food, Fitzgerald provides a holistic picture and explicates the connections in the supply chain that are obscured in the current mode of food production. Bridging the distance in animal agriculture between production, processing, consumption, and their associated impacts, this analysis envisions ways of redressing the negative effects of the use of animals as food. It details how consumption levels and practices have changed as the relationship between production, processing, and consumption has shifted. Due to the wide-ranging questions addressed in this book, the author draws on many fields of inquiry, including sociology, (critical) animal studies, history, economics, law, political science, anthropology, criminology, environmental science, geography, philosophy, and animal science.

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Asian Smallholders in Comparative Perspective
Eric Thompson
Amsterdam University Press, 2019
Asian Smallholders in Comparative Perspective provides the first multicountry, inter-disciplinary analysis of the single most important social and economic formation in the Asian countryside: the smallholder. Based on ten core country chapters, the volume describes and explains the persistence, transformations, functioning and future of the smallholder and smallholdings across East and Southeast Asia. As well as providing a source book for scholars working on agrarian change in the region, it also engages with a number of key current areas of debate, including: the nature and direction of the agrarian transition in Asia, and its distinctiveness vis à vis transitions in the global North; the persistence of the smallholder notwithstanding deep and rapid structural change; and the question of the efficiency and productivity of smallholder-based farming set against concerns over global and national food security.

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Money, Power, and the Corruption of America's Food Industry
Austin Frerick
Island Press, 2024
“In this eye-opening debut study, Frerick, an agricultural policy fellow at Yale University, reveals the ill-gained stranglehold that a handful of companies have on America’s food economy…It’s a disquieting critique of private monopolization of public necessities.” --Publishers Weekly, starred

Barons is the story of seven corporate titans, their rise to power, and the consequences for everyone else. Take Mike McCloskey, Chairman of Fair Oaks Farms. In a few short decades, he went from managing a modest dairy herd to running the Disneyland of agriculture, where school children ride trams through mechanized warehouses filled with tens of thousands of cows that never see the light of day. What was the key to his success? Hard work and exceptional business savvy? Maybe. But more than anything else, Mike benefitted from deregulation of the American food industry, a phenomenon that has consolidated wealth in the hands of select tycoons, and along the way, hollowed out the nation’s rural towns and local businesses.

Along with Mike McCloskey, readers will meet a secretive German family that took over the global coffee industry in less than a decade, relying on wealth traced back to the Nazis to gobble up countless independent roasters. They will discover how a small grain business transformed itself into an empire bigger than Koch Industries, with ample help from taxpayer dollars. And they will learn that in the food business, crime really does pay—especially when you can bribe and then double-cross the president of Brazil.

These, and the other stories in this book, are simply examples of the monopolies and ubiquitous corruption that today define American food. The tycoons profiled in these pages are hardly unique: many other companies have manipulated our lax laws and failed policies for their own benefit, to the detriment of our neighborhoods, livelihoods, and our democracy itself. Barons paints a stark portrait of the consequences of corporate consolidation, but it also shows we can choose a different path. A fair, healthy, and prosperous food industry is possible—if we take back power from the barons who have robbed us of it.

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Blue Shadows Farm
A Novel
Jerry Apps
University of Wisconsin Press, 2009
Fans of Jerry Apps will delight in his latest novel, Blue Shadows Farm, which follows the intriguing family story of three generations on a Wisconsin farm.
    Silas Starkweather, a Civil War veteran, is drawn to Wisconsin and homesteads 160 acres in Ames County, where he is known as the mysterious farmer forever digging holes. After years of hardship and toil, however, Silas develops a commitment to farming his land and respect for his new community. When Silas’s son Abe inherits Blue Shadows Farm he chooses to keep the land out of reluctant necessity, distilling and distributing “purified corn water” throughout Prohibition and the Great Depression in order to stay solvent. Abe’s daughter, Emma, willingly takes over the farm after her mother’s death. Emma’s love for this place inspires her to open the farm to school-children and families who share her respect for it. As she considers selling the land, Emma is confronted with a difficult question—who, through thick and thin, will care for Blue Shadows Farm as her family has done for over a century? In the midst of a controversy that disrupts the entire community, Emma looks into her family’s past to help her make crucial decisions about the future of its land.
    Through the story of the Starkweather family’s changing fortunes, and each generation’s very different relationship with the farm and the land, Blue Shadows Farm is in some ways the narrative of all farmers and the increasingly difficult challenges they face as committed stewards of the land.
Finalist, General Fiction, Midwest Book Awards

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Building Community Food Webs
Ken Meter
Island Press, 2021
Our current food system has decimated rural communities and confined the choices of urban consumers. Even while America continues to ramp up farm production to astounding levels, net farm income is now lower than at the onset of the Great Depression, and one out of every eight Americans faces hunger. But a healthier and more equitable food system is possible. In Building Community Food Webs, Ken Meter shows how grassroots food and farming leaders across the U.S. are tackling these challenges by constructing civic networks. Overturning extractive economic structures, these inspired leaders are engaging low-income residents, farmers, and local organizations in their quest to build stronger communities.

Community food webs strive to build health, wealth, capacity, and connection. Their essential element is building greater respect and mutual trust, so community members can more effectively empower themselves and address local challenges. Farmers and researchers may convene to improve farming practices collaboratively. Health clinics help clients grow food for themselves and attain better health. Food banks engage their customers to challenge the root causes of poverty. Municipalities invest large sums to protect farmland from development. Developers forge links among local businesses to strengthen economic trade. Leaders in communities marginalized by our current food system are charting a new path forward.

Building Community Food Webs captures the essence of these efforts, underway in diverse places including Montana, Hawai‘i, Vermont, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, and Minnesota. Addressing challenges as well as opportunities, Meter offers pragmatic insights for community food leaders and other grassroots activists alike.

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The Cassava Transformation
Africa's Best-Kept Secret
Felix I. Nweke
Michigan State University Press, 2002

Cassava is Africa's "poverty fighter" and second most important food crop. This book discusses Cassava's real role and traces research over the past 65 years. The "Cassava transformation" that is now underway in Africa has changed this traditional, reserve crop to a high-yield cash crop. However, Cassava is being neglected by governments and donor agencies because of myths and half-truths about its nutritional value and role in farm systems.


front cover of Cheese
The Making of a Wisconsin Tradition
Jerry Apps
University of Wisconsin Press, 2020
Wisconsin has not always been the dairy state, but cheese is a notable part of its heritage. Capturing the voices of farmers, milk haulers, makers, and graders, Jerry Apps provides a rich view into the history of cheese in the state, beginning with its humble origins in farmhouse kitchens. As he explores the extraordinary diversity of cheese products, he peppers his lively narrative with obscure lore.

In this updated edition of a classic, Apps examines tumultuous changes in the business over the past twenty years, including the impacts of corporate megafarms and the rise of artisanal producers. Vivid historical photographs and striking portraits of modern family-operated factories reveal the delicate balance between art and science that goes into the process of turning ordinary milk into a wide variety of flavors, from the ubiquitous cheddar to sublime delicacies. Through these stories, we can come to better appreciate the remarkable farmers and producers that shaped cheesemaking into the thriving industry it is today.

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Cheese War
Conflict and Courage in Tillamook County, Oregon
Marilyn Milne
Oregon State University Press, 2022
In the 1960s, Tillamook County, Oregon, was at war with itself. As the regional dairy industry shifted from small local factories to larger consolidated factories, and as profit margins for milk and cheese collapsed, Tillamook farmers found themselves in a financial crisis that fueled multiple disputes. The ensuing Cheese War included lies and secrets, as well as spies, high emotion, a shoving match, and even a death threat.

On one side of the battle was Beale Dixon, head of Tillamook County Creamery Association. Dixon set up a scheme to offer low-interest, low-collateral loans from TCCA’s largest member cooperative, Tillamook Cheese & Dairy Association, to the supermarkets that stocked Tillamook products. Dixon argued it was a cheap, easy way to ensure good will—and continued purchases—in a tight market. On the other side was George Milne, a respected farmer and board president of the cooperative. Milne supported his board’s decision that loans would require board approval and bank oversight. Dixon mostly ignored those requirements.

The discovery of more financial irregularities soon spiraled  into a community-wide dispute, exacerbated by a complex web of family and business relationships. The Cheese War raged for the better part of a decade across board meetings, courtrooms, and the community itself. While largely unknown outside of Tillamook County, the Cheese War was so divisive that some families remain fractured today.

Sisters Marilyn Milne and Linda Kirk, children of the Cheese War, saw how it absorbed their parents. As adults, they set out to learn more about what had happened. The authors conducted years of research and have integrated it with tales of their experiences as farm kids living through the all-consuming fight. As Americans become ever more interested in food supply chains and ethical consumption, here is the story of the very human factors behind one of Oregon’s most iconic brands.

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The Cigarette
A Political History
Sarah Milov
Harvard University Press, 2019

Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
Winner of the Willie Lee Rose Prize
Winner of the PROSE Award in United States History
Hagley Prize in Business History Finalist
A Smithsonian Best History Book of the Year

“Vaping gets all the attention now, but Milov’s thorough study reminds us that smoking has always intersected with the government, for better or worse.”
New York Times Book Review

From Jamestown to the Marlboro Man, tobacco has powered America’s economy and shaped some of its most enduring myths. The story of tobacco’s rise and fall may seem simple enough—a tale of science triumphing over corporate greed—but the truth is more complicated.

After the Great Depression, government officials and tobacco farmers worked hand in hand to ensure that regulation was used to promote tobacco rather than protect consumers. As evidence of the connection between cigarettes and cancer grew, scientists struggled to secure federal regulation in the name of public health. What turned the tide, Sarah Milov reveals, was a new kind of politics: a movement for nonsmokers’ rights. Activists took to the courts, the streets, city councils, and boardrooms to argue for smoke-free workplaces and allied with scientists to lobby elected officials. The Cigarette puts politics back at the heart of tobacco’s rise and fall, dramatizing the battles over corporate influence, individual choice, government regulation, and science.

“A nuanced and ultimately devastating indictment of government complicity with the worst excesses of American capitalism.”
New Republic

“An impressive work of scholarship evincing years of spadework…A well-told story.”
Wall Street Journal

“If you want to know what the smoke-filled rooms of midcentury America were really like, this is the book to read.”
Los Angeles Review of Books


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Cigarettes, Inc.
An Intimate History of Corporate Imperialism
Nan Enstad
University of Chicago Press, 2018
Traditional narratives of capitalist change often rely on the myth of the willful entrepreneur from the global North who transforms the economy and delivers modernity—for good or ill—to the rest of the world. With Cigarettes, Inc., Nan Enstad upends this story, revealing the myriad cross-cultural encounters that produced corporate life before World War II.

In this startling account of innovation and expansion, Enstad uncovers a corporate network rooted in Jim Crow segregation that stretched between the United States and China and beyond. Cigarettes, Inc. teems with a global cast—from Egyptian, American, and Chinese entrepreneurs to a multiracial set of farmers, merchants, factory workers, marketers, and even baseball players, jazz musicians, and sex workers. Through their stories, Cigarettes, Inc. accounts for the cigarette’s spectacular rise in popularity and in the process offers nothing less than a sweeping reinterpretation of corporate power itself.

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The City Man’s Guide to the Farm Problem
Willard W. Cochrane
University of Minnesota Press, 1965

The City Man's Guide to the Farm Problem was first published in 1965. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Few domestic questions are so controversial as the farm problem, yet the average city man finds it difficult to understand the basic issues involved. In this book Professor Cochrane describes for the layman the nature and causes of the commercial farm problem and the rural poverty problem and provides the basis for making informed judgments about these problems and their possible solutions. He analyzes the economic and political forces which are at work in the farm economy, explains the organization of modern agriculture, showing the unique structure of farming, and draws a vivid picture of the revolutionary developments which have taken place in agriculture. He discusses behavior patterns of farmers and consumers as they relate to the farm economy, and the role of government in the farm industry and in the lives of farmers.

The analysis and discussion make clear the reasons why the government is so deeply involved in farm issues and point up what will be needed in order to make some headway toward solutions of the problems. Professor Cochrane emphasizes that there is no perfect solution to the farm problem but he provides the information and analyses from which the reader can gain a better understanding of the issues.

Sixteen photographic illustrations show old and new methods of farming and types of equipment. There are also a number of charts, graphs, and tables.

Willard W. Cochrane is dean of international programs and a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Minnesota. He was director of agricultural economics in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and economic adviser to the Secretary of Agriculture from 1961 to 1964, and served as agricultural adviser to John F. Kennedy during the 1960 presidential campaign. He is the author also of Farm Prices: Myth and Reality.


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Cooperatives across Clusters
Lessons from the Cranberry Industry
Anil Hira
Oregon State University Press, 2024

Most agricultural production is of commodity or undifferentiated products. Producers suffer from a roller-coaster ride of price swings, over- or under-production, weather and pest threats, and the inability of family famers to capture anything beyond a small percentage of the final price.

Cooperatives Across Clusters provides lessons from the cranberry industry, a commodity product organized mostly into family farms in seven different clusters around North America. The industry is remarkable in that it's substantially organized around one large cooperative, Ocean Spray. The authors examine how the cooperative came to be, the challenges of coordination and industry leadership across the diverging clusters, and the lessons for cooperation for other agricultural industries.

The book provides a multi-layered contribution to agricultural economics. First, it examines location decisions and what factors supersede growing conditions to allow industries to arise around production. Second, it explores pathways available for farmers to try to overcome, through cooperative organization, the natural boom-bust cycles of commodity price swings. Third, it looks at how cooperative decisions are made, and the challenges of providing industry leadership, including research and development and collective marketing, through a cooperative that faces continual defections and new problems. Finally, through in-depth historical, statistical, and field research, it provides a comprehensive study of the cranberry industry and suggests ways farmers can grow the industry. Agricultural policymakers, farmers, industry specialists, and researchers of agriculture and clusters more generally will find this to be an important and informative new resource.


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Corporate Crops
Biotechnology, Agriculture, and the Struggle for Control
By Gabriela Pechlaner
University of Texas Press, 2012

Biotechnology crop production area increased from 1.7 million hectares to 148 million hectares worldwide between 1996 to 2010. While genetically modified food is a contentious issue, the debates are usually limited to health and environmental concerns, ignoring the broader questions of social control that arise when food production methods become corporate-owned intellectual property. Drawing on legal documents and dozens of interviews with farmers and other stakeholders, Corporate Crops covers four case studies based around litigation between biotechnology corporations and farmers. Pechlaner investigates the extent to which the proprietary aspects of biotechnologies—from patents on seeds to a plethora of new rules and contractual obligations associated with the technologies—are reorganizing crop production.

The lawsuits include patent infringement litigation launched by Monsanto against a Saskatchewan canola farmer who, in turn, claimed his crops had been involuntarily contaminated by the company’s GM technology; a class action application by two Saskatchewan organic canola farmers launched against Monsanto and Aventis (later Bayer) for the loss of their organic market due to contamination with GMOs; and two cases in Mississippi in which Monsanto sued farmers for saving seeds containing its patented GM technology. Pechlaner argues that well-funded corporate lawyers have a decided advantage over independent farmers in the courts and in creating new forms of power and control in agricultural production. Corporate Crops demonstrates the effects of this intersection between the courts and the fields where profits, not just a food supply, are reaped.


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The Cow with Ear Tag #1389
Kathryn Gillespie
University of Chicago Press, 2018
To translate the journey from a living cow to a glass of milk into tangible terms, Kathryn Gillespie set out to follow the moments in the life cycles of individual animals—animals like the cow with ear tag #1389. She explores how the seemingly benign practice of raising animals for milk is just one link in a chain that affects livestock across the agricultural spectrum. Gillespie takes readers to farms, auction yards, slaughterhouses, and even rendering plants to show how living cows become food. The result is an empathetic look at cows and our relationship with them, one that makes both their lives and their suffering real.

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Creating Dairyland
How caring for cows saved our soil, created our landscape, brought prosperity to our state, and still shapes our way of life in Wisconsin
Edward Janus
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2012

The story of dairying in Wisconsin is the story of how our very landscape and way of life were created. By making cows the center of our farm life and learning how to care for them, our ancestors launched a revolution that changed much more than the way farmers earned their living — it changed us.

In Creating Dairyland, journalist, oral historian, and former dairyman Ed Janus opens the pages of the fascinating story of Wisconsin dairy farming. He explores the profound idea that led to the remarkable "big bang" of dairying here a century and a half ago. He helps us understand why there are cows in Wisconsin, how farmers became responsible stewards of our resources, and how cows have paid them back for their efforts. And he introduces us to dairy farmers and cheesemakers of today: men and women who want to tell us why they love what they do.
Ed Janus offers a sort of field guide to Dairyland, showing us how to "read" our landscape with fresh eyes, explaining what we see today by describing how and why it came to be. Creating Dairyland pays tribute to the many thousands of Wisconsin farmers who have found a way to stay on their land with their cows. Their remarkable effort of labor, intelligence, and faith is one of the great stories of Wisconsin.

front cover of Creating Dairyland
Creating Dairyland
How caring for cows saved our soil, created our landscape, brought prosperity to our state, and still shapes our way of life in Wisconsin
Edward Janus
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2011

The story of dairying in Wisconsin is the story of how our very landscape and way of life were created. By making cows the center of our farm life and learning how to care for them, our ancestors launched a revolution that changed much more than the way farmers earned their living — it changed us.

In Creating Dairyland, journalist, oral historian, and former dairyman Ed Janus opens the pages of the fascinating story of Wisconsin dairy farming. He explores the profound idea that led to the remarkable "big bang" of dairying here a century and a half ago. He helps us understand why there are cows in Wisconsin, how farmers became responsible stewards of our resources, and how cows have paid them back for their efforts. And he introduces us to dairy farmers and cheesemakers of today: men and women who want to tell us why they love what they do.
Ed Janus offers a sort of field guide to Dairyland, showing us how to "read" our landscape with fresh eyes, explaining what we see today by describing how and why it came to be. Creating Dairyland pays tribute to the many thousands of Wisconsin farmers who have found a way to stay on their land with their cows. Their remarkable effort of labor, intelligence, and faith is one of the great stories of Wisconsin.

front cover of Creating Dairyland
Creating Dairyland
How caring for cows saved our soil, created our landscape, brought prosperity to our state, and still shapes our way of life in Wisconsin
Edward Janus
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2011

The story of dairying in Wisconsin is the story of how our very landscape and way of life were created. By making cows the center of our farm life and learning how to care for them, our ancestors launched a revolution that changed much more than the way farmers earned their living — it changed us.

In Creating Dairyland, journalist, oral historian, and former dairyman Ed Janus opens the pages of the fascinating story of Wisconsin dairy farming. He explores the profound idea that led to the remarkable "big bang" of dairying here a century and a half ago. He helps us understand why there are cows in Wisconsin, how farmers became responsible stewards of our resources, and how cows have paid them back for their efforts. And he introduces us to dairy farmers and cheesemakers of today: men and women who want to tell us why they love what they do.
Ed Janus offers a sort of field guide to Dairyland, showing us how to "read" our landscape with fresh eyes, explaining what we see today by describing how and why it came to be. Creating Dairyland pays tribute to the many thousands of Wisconsin farmers who have found a way to stay on their land with their cows. Their remarkable effort of labor, intelligence, and faith is one of the great stories of Wisconsin.

front cover of Crunch!
A History of the Great American Potato Chip
Dirk Burhans
University of Wisconsin Press, 2017
The potato chip has been one of America's favorite snacks since its accidental origin in a nineteenth-century kitchen. Crunch! A History of the Great American Potato Chip tells the story of this crispy, salty treat, from the early sales of locally made chips at corner groceries, county fairs, and cafes to the mass marketing and corporate consolidation of the modern snack food industry.

Crunch! also uncovers a dark side of potato chip history, including a federal investigation of the snack food industry in the 1990s following widespread allegations of antitrust activity, illegal buyouts, and predatory pricing. In the wake of these "Great Potato Chip Wars," corporate snack divisions closed and dozens of family-owned companies went bankrupt. Yet, despite consolidation, many small chippers persist into the twenty-first century, as mom-and-pop companies and upstart "boutique" businesses serve both new consumers and markets with strong regional loyalties.

Illustrated with images of early snack food paraphernalia and clever packaging from the glory days of American advertising art, Crunch! is an informative tour of large and small business in America and the vicissitudes of popular tastes.


front cover of Ecoagriculture
Strategies to Feed the World and Save Wild Biodiversity
Future Harvest, Jeffrey A. McNeely, and Sara J. Scherr
Island Press, 2002

Although food-production systems for the world's rural poor typically have had devastating effects on the planet's wealth of genes, species, and ecosystems, that need not be the case in the future. In Ecoagriculture, two of the world's leading experts on conservation and development examine the idea that agricultural landscapes can be designed more creatively to take the needs of human populations into account while also protecting, or even enhancing, biodiversity. They present a thorough overview of the innovative concept of "ecoagriculture" - the management of landscapes for both the production of food and the conservation of wild biodiversity. The book:

  • examines the global impact of agriculture on wild biodiversity
  • describes the challenge of reconciling biodiversity conservation and agricultural goals
  • outlines and discusses the ecoagriculture approach
  • presents diverse case studies that illustrate key strategies
  • explores how policies, markets, and institutions can be re-shaped to support ecoagriculture
While focusing on tropical regions of the developing world -- where increased agricultural productivity is most vital for food security, poverty reduction, and sustainable development, and where so much of the world's wild biodiversity is threatened -- it also draws on lessons learned in developed countries. Dozens of examples from around the world present proven strategies for small-scale, low-income farmers involved in commercial production.

Ecoagriculture explores new approaches to agricultural production that complement natural environments, enhance ecosystem function, and improve rural livelihoods. It features a wealth of real-world case studies that demonstrate the applicability of the ideas discussed and how the principles can be applied, and is an important new work for policymakers, students, researchers, and anyone concerned with conserving biodiversity while sustaining human populations.


front cover of The Economics of Food Price Volatility
The Economics of Food Price Volatility
Edited by Jean-Paul Chavas, David Hummels, and Brian D. Wright
University of Chicago Press, 2014
There has been an increase in food price instability in recent years, with varied consequences for farmers, market participants, and consumers. Before policy makers can design schemes to reduce food price uncertainty or ameliorate its effects, they must first understand the factors that have contributed to recent price instability. Does it arise primarily from technological or weather-related supply shocks, or from changes in demand like those induced by the growing use of biofuel? Does financial speculation affect food price volatility?

The researchers who contributed to The Economics of Food Price Volatility address these and other questions. They examine the forces driving both recent and historical patterns in food price volatility, as well as the effects of various public policies in affecting this volatility. The chapters include studies of the links between food and energy markets, the impact of biofuel policy on the level and variability of food prices, and the effects of weather-related disruptions in supply. The findings shed light on the way price volatility affects the welfare of farmers, traders, and consumers.

front cover of Economics of Research and Innovation in Agriculture
Economics of Research and Innovation in Agriculture
Edited by Petra Moser
University of Chicago Press, 2021
Feeding the world’s growing population is a critical policy challenge for the twenty-first century. With constraints on water, arable land, and other natural resources, agricultural innovation is a promising path to meeting the nutrient needs for future generations. At the same time, potential increases in the variability of the world’s climate may intensify the need for developing new crops that can tolerate extreme weather. Despite the key role for scientific breakthroughs, there is an active discussion on the returns to public and private spending in agricultural R&D, and many of the world’s wealthier countries have scaled back the share of GDP that they devote to agricultural R&D. Dwindling public support leaves universities, which historically have been a major source of agricultural innovation, increasingly dependent on industry funding, with uncertain effects on the nature and direction of agricultural research. All of these factors create an urgent need for systematic empirical evidence on the forces that drive research and innovation in agriculture. This book aims to provide such evidence through economic analyses of the sources of agricultural innovation, the challenges of measuring agricultural productivity, the role of universities and their interactions with industry, and emerging mechanisms that can fund agricultural R&D. 

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The Economics of Sustainable Food
Smart Policies for Health and the Planet
Edited by Nicoletta Batini
Island Press, 2021
Producing food industrially like we do today causes tremendous global economic losses in terms of malnutrition, diseases, and environmental degradation. But because the food industry does not bear those costs and the price tag for these losses does not show up at the grocery store, it is too often ignored by economists and policymakers.

The Economics of Sustainable Food details the true cost of food for people and the planet. It illustrates how to transform our broken system, alleviating its severe financial and human burden. The key is smart macroeconomic policy that moves us toward methods that protect the environment like regenerative land and sea farming, low-impact urban farming, and alternative protein farming, and toward healthy diets. The book’s multidisciplinary team of authors lay out detailed fiscal and trade policies, as well as structural reforms, to achieve those goals.

Chapters discuss strategies to make food production sustainable, nutritious, and fair, ranging from taxes and spending to education, labor market, health care, and pension reforms, alongside regulation in cases where market incentives are unlikely to work or to work fast enough. The authors carefully consider the different needs of more and less advanced economies, balancing economic development and sustainability goals. Case studies showcase successful strategies from around the world, such as taxing foods with a high carbon footprint, financing ecosystems mapping and conservation to meet scientific targets for healthy biomes permanency, subsidizing sustainable land and sea farming, reforming health systems to move away from sick care to preventive, nutrition-based care, and providing schools with matching funds to purchase local organic produce.

In the years ahead, few issues will be more important for individual prosperity and the global economy than the way we produce our food and what food we eat. This roadmap for reform is an invaluable resource to help global policymakers improve countless lives.

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Eli and the Octopus
The CEO Who Tried to Reform One of the World’s Most Notorious Corporations
Matt Garcia
Harvard University Press, 2023

The poignant rise and fall of an idealistic immigrant who, as CEO of a major conglomerate, tried to change the way America did business before he himself was swallowed up by corporate corruption.

At 8 a.m. on February 3, 1975, Eli Black leapt to his death from the 44th floor of Manhattan’s Pan Am building. The immigrant-turned-CEO of United Brands—formerly United Fruit, now Chiquita—Black seemed an embodiment of the American dream. United Brands was transformed under his leadership—from the “octopus,” a nickname that captured the corrupt power the company had held over Latin American governments, to “the most socially conscious company in the hemisphere,” according to a well-placed commentator. How did it all go wrong?

Eli and the Octopus traces the rise and fall of an enigmatic business leader and his influence on the nascent project of corporate social responsibility. Born Menashe Elihu Blachowitz in Lublin, Poland, Black arrived in New York at the age of three and became a rabbi before entering the business world. Driven by the moral tenets of his faith, he charted a new course in industries known for poor treatment of workers, partnering with labor leaders like Cesar Chavez to improve conditions. But risky investments, economic recession, and a costly wave of natural disasters led Black away from the path of reform and toward corrupt backroom dealing.

Now, two decades after Google’s embrace of “Don’t be evil” as its unofficial motto, debates about “ethical capitalism” are more heated than ever. Matt Garcia presents an unvarnished portrait of Black’s complicated legacy. Exploring the limits of corporate social responsibility on American life, Eli and the Octopus offers pointed lessons for those who hope to do good while doing business.


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Engineering the Farm
The Social And Ethical Aspects Of Agricultural Biotechnology
Edited by Marc Lappe and Britt Bailey
Island Press, 2002

Engineering the Farm offers a wide-ranging examination of the social and ethical issues surrounding the production and consumption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), with leading thinkers and activists taking a broad theoretical approach to the subject. Topics covered include:

  • the historical roots of the anti-biotechnology movement
  • ethical issues involved in introducing genetically altered crops
  • questions of patenting and labeling
  • the "precautionary principle" and its role in the regulation of GMOs
  • effects of genetic modification on the world's food supply
  • ecological concerns and impacts on traditional varieties of domesticated crops
  • potential health effects of GMOs

Contributors argue that the scope, scale, and size of the present venture in crop modification is so vast and intensive that a thoroughgoing review of agricultural biotechnology must consider its global, moral, cultural, and ecological impacts as well as its effects on individual consumers. Throughout, they argue that more research is needed on genetically modified food and that consumers are entitled to specific information about how food products have been developed.

Despite its increasing role in worldwide food production, little has been written about the broader social and ethical implications of GMOs. Engineering the Farm offers a unique approach to the subject for academics, activists, and policymakers involved with questions of environmental policy, ethics, agriculture, environmental health, and related fields.


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The Farm as Natural Habitat
Reconnecting Food Systems With Ecosystems
Edited by Dana L. Jackson and Laura L. Jackson; Foreword by Nina Leopold Bradley
Island Press, 2002

The Farm as Natural Habitat is a vital new contribution to the debate about agriculture and its impacts on the land. Arising from the conviction that the agricultural landscape as a whole could be restored to a healthy diversity, the book challenges the notion that the dominant agricultural landscape -- bereft of its original vegetation and wildlife and despoiled by chemical runoff -- is inevitable if we are to feed ourselves. Contributors bring together insights and practices from the fields of conservation biology, sustainable agriculture, and environmental restoration to link agriculture and biodiversity, farming and nature, in celebrating a unique alternative to conventional agriculture.

Rejecting the idea that "ecological sacrifice zones" are a necessary part of feeding a hungry world, the book offers compelling examples of an alternative agriculture that can produce not only healthful food, but fully functioning ecosystems and abundant populations of native species. Contributors include Collin Bode, George Boody, Brian DeVore, Arthur (Tex) Hawkins, Buddy Huffaker, Rhonda Janke, Richard Jefferson, Nick Jordan, Cheryl Miller, Heather Robertson, Carol Shennan, Judith Soule, Beth Waterhouse, and others.

The Farm as Natural Habitat is both hopeful and visionary, grounded in real examples, and guided by a commitment to healthy land and thriving communities. It is the first book to offer a viable approach to addressing the challenges of protecting and restoring biodiversity on private agricultural land and is essential reading for anyone concerned with issues of land or biodiversity conservation, farming and agriculture, ecological restoration, or the health of rural communities and landscapes.


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The Farm Bill
A Citizen's Guide
Daniel Imhoff with Christina Badaracco
Island Press, 2018
The farm bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation the American president signs. Negotiated every five to seven years, it has tremendous implications for food production, nutrition assistance, habitat conservation, international trade, and much more. Yet at nearly 1,000 pages, it is difficult to understand for policymakers, let alone citizens. In this primer, Dan Imhoff and Christina Badaracco translate all the “legalese" and political jargon into an accessible, graphics-rich 200 pages.

Readers will learn the basic elements of the bill, its origins and history, and perhaps most importantly, the battles that will determine the direction of food policy in the coming years. The authors trace how the legislation has evolved, from its first incarnation during the Great Depression, to today, when America has become the world’s leading agricultural powerhouse. They explain the three main components of the bill—farm subsidies, food stamps or SNAP, and conservation programs—as well as how crucial public policies are changing.

With a new farm bill just signed into law, we all need to understand the implications of food policy. What’s the impact of crop insurance? How does SNAP actually work? What would it take to create a healthier, more sustainable food system? These are questions that affect not only farmers, but everyone who eats. If you care about the answers, The Farm Bill is your guide.

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Farm Prices
Myth and Reality
Willard W. Cochrane
University of Minnesota Press, 1958

Farm Prices was first published in 1958. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Few domestic questions are so controversial as the farm problem, yet the average city man finds it difficult to understand the basic issues involved. In this book Professor Cochrane describes for the layman the nature and causes of the commercial farm problem and the rural poverty problem and provides the basis for making informed judgments about these problems and their possible solutions. He analyzes the economic and political forces which are at work in the farm economy, explains the organization of modern agriculture, showing the unique structure of farming, and draws a vivid picture of the revolutionary developments which have taken place in agriculture. He discusses behavior patterns of farmers and consumers as they relate to the farm economy, and the role of government in the farm industry and in the lives of farmers.

Farm prices are constantly fluctuating, and out of this price variability emerge such serious and continuing farm problems as variable incomes, low incomes over extended periods, and uncertainty in production planning. In this study Professor Cochrane seeks to get at the root of the trouble by, first, exploring and exposing what he considers a basic fallacy in our present day thinking and approach to the farm problem. This is the widely held myth of an automatically adjusting agriculture, an agriculture that is always out of balance because of an "emergency." This myth, he points out, beclouds the issues involved in the whole farm problem.

The farm price myth splits two ways in the public mind, Mr. Cochrane explains, but these divergent attitudes represent differences only in mechanics, not in principle, and they are equally effective in obscuring the real picture. One segment of the public believes that agriculture, if left alone for a while, would gravitate toward and stabilize at some desirable level and pattern of prices, production, and incomes. The other segment believes that the same result would occur if agriculture were given a temporary, helping hand by the government. Mr. Cochrane shows the fallacies inherent in both of these convictions by presenting an integrated, overall picture of farm price behavior as it really exists. On a basis of this realistic view, he presents the two alternatives or hard policy choices that he believes the American farmer faces today.

Willard W. Cochrane is Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of a number of books, including The City Man's Guide to the Farm Problem and Farm Prices: Myth and Reality. He previously served as an economist with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is the co-author of Economics of American Agriculture and Economics of Consumption.


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Farmers' Markets of the Heartland
Janine MacLachlan
University of Illinois Press, 2012

A visual feast of the Midwest's homegrown bounty

In this splendidly illustrated book, food writer and self-described farm groupie Janine MacLachlan embarks on a tour of seasonal markets and farmstands throughout the Midwest, sampling local flavors from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. She conducts delicious research as she meets farmers, tastes their food, and explores how their businesses thrive in the face of an industrial food supply. She tells the stories of a pair of farmers growing specialty crops on a few acres of northern Michigan for just a few months out of the year, an Ohio cattle farm that has raised heritage beef since 1820, and a Minnesota farmer who tirelessly champions the Jimmy Nardello sweet Italian frying pepper. Along the way, she savors vibrant red carrots, slurpy peaches, vast quantities of specialty cheeses, and some of the tastiest pie to cross anyone's lips.

Informed by debates about eating local, seasonal crops, organic farming, sanitation, and biodiversity, Farmers' Markets of the Heartland tantalizes with special recipes from farm-friendly chefs and dozens of luscious color photographs that will inspire you to harvest the homegrown flavors in your own neighborhood.


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Farming in Nature's Image
An Ecological Approach To Agriculture
Judith D. Soule and Jon K. Piper; Foreword by Wes Jackson
Island Press, 1992

˜Farming in Nature's Image provides, for the first time, a detailed look into the pioneering work of The Land Institute, the leading educational and research organization for sustainable agriculture.

The authors draw on case studies, hands-on experience, and research results to explain the applications of a new system of agriculture based on one unifying concept: that farms should mimic the ecosystems in which they exist. They present both theoretical and practical information, including:

  • a review of the environmental degradation resulting from current farming practices
  • a critical evaluation of the attempts to solve these problems
  • a detailed description of the ecosystem perspective and the proposed new agricultural system
  • a case study illustrating how this new system could be applied to temperate grain production using perennial seed crops and the prairie as a model
  • an examination of the potential savings in energy and water use, as well as potential contributions to ecological experiments and yield analysis work from The Land Institute.

Written in clear, non-technical language, this book will be of great interest to soil and agricultural scientists, academics, policymakers, environmentalists, and other concerned with finding long-range solutions to agricultural problems.


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The Fatal Harvest Reader
The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture
Edited by Andrew Kimbrell
Island Press, 2002
Fatal Harvest takes an unprecedented look at our current ecologically destructive agricultural system and offers a compelling vision for an organic and environmentally safer way of producing the food we eat. It gathers together more than forty essays by leading ecological thinkers including Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, David Ehrenfeld, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Vandana Shiva, and Gary Nabhan. Providing a unique and invaluable antidote to the efforts by agribusiness to obscure and disconnect us from the truth about industrialized foods, it demostrates that industrial food production is indeed a "fatal harvest"--fatal to consumers, fatal to our landscapes, fatal to genetic diversity, and fatal to our farm communities.

As it exposes the ecological and social impacts of industrial agriculture's fatal harvest, Fatal Harvest details a new ecological and humane vision for agriculture. It shows how millions of people are engaged in the new politics of food as they work to develop a better alternative to the current chemically fed and biotechnology-driven system. Designed to aid the movement to reform industrial agriculture, Fatal Harvest informs and influences the activists, farmers, policymakers, and consumers who are seeking a safer and more sustainable food future.

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Food for the Few
Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America
Edited by Gerardo Otero
University of Texas Press, 2008

Recent decades have seen tremendous changes in Latin America's agricultural sector, resulting from a broad program of liberalization instigated under pressure from the United States, the IMF, and the World Bank. Tariffs have been lifted, agricultural markets have been opened and privatized, land reform policies have been restricted or eliminated, and the perspective has shifted radically toward exportation rather than toward the goal of feeding local citizens. Examining the impact of these transformations, the contributors to Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America paint a somber portrait, describing local peasant farmers who have been made responsible for protecting impossibly vast areas of biodiversity, or are forced to specialize in one genetically modified crop, or who become low-wage workers within a capitalized farm complex. Using dozens of examples such as these, the deleterious consequences are surveyed from the perspectives of experts in diverse fields, including anthropology, economics, geography, political science, and sociology.

From Kathy McAfee's "Exporting Crop Biotechnology: The Myth of Molecular Miracles," to Liz Fitting's "Importing Corn, Exporting Labor: The Neoliberal Corn Regime, GMOs, and the Erosion of Mexican Biodiversity," Food for the Few balances disturbing findings with hopeful assessments of emerging grassroots alternatives. Surveying not only the Latin American conditions that led to bankruptcy for countless farmers but also the North's practices, such as the heavy subsidies implemented to protect North American farmers, these essays represent a comprehensive, keenly informed response to a pivotal global crisis.


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From The Land
Articles Compiled From The Land 1941-1954
Edited by Nancy P. Pittman; Introduction by Wes Jackson
Island Press, 1988

Begun in 1941 as an outgrowth of Friends of the Land, the journal The Land was an attempt by editor Russell Lord to counteract -- through education, information, and inspiration -- the rampant abuse of soil, water, trees and rivers. But for all its seriousness of mission, The Land was a stimulating mix of fact and charm. It included literature, philosophy, art, and the practical observations of farmers and conservation workers, to encourage small farmers to understand and apply conservation principles to their lands.

This anthology, a fascinating mosaic, compiled from the 13 years of The Land tells in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and philosophy the story of how we changed from a nation of small farms to the agribusiness we have today. Among the 40 authors included are conservation and literary giants such as Aldo Leopold, E. B.White, Louis Bromfield, Paul Sears, Allan Patton and Wallace Stegner.


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Global Value Chains and Uneven Development
Corporate Strategies and Class Dynamics in Argentinian Agribusiness
Christin Bernhold
Campus Verlag, 2022
An empirical examination of the development pitfalls involving global value chains.

Are global value chains (GVCs) opportunity structures for economic upgrading, job creation, and poverty reduction? At least, this is what institutions like the World Bank suggest. However, the present book shows that this is not a tenable position—either on empirical or theoretical grounds. The study is conceived as an empirical ideology critique of the mainstream GVC approach, especially of its focus on upgrading as a development strategy. It is based on in-depth empirical research into upgrading strategies in Argentinian grain and oilseed value chains and their ramifications. Here, corporate actors organized along agribusiness value chains have demonstrated fairly successful trajectories of firm-level upgrading and, at the same time, employed the chain metaphor from the standpoint of specific business interests rather than a general development interest. Christin Bernhold devised the concept of “upgrading in and through class differentiation” to show how firm-level upgrading is based on, and at the same time re-shapes, class and power relations—shaping the uneven geographies of capitalism rather than eliminating them.

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Grass Productivity
Andre Voisin; Introduction by Allan Savory
Island Press, 1988

Grass Productivity is a prodigiously documented textbook of scientific information concerning every aspect of management "where the cow and grass meet." Andre Voisin's "rational grazing" method maximizes productivity in both grass and cattle operations.


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Grass Roots
A History of Cannabis in the American West
Nick Johnson
Oregon State University Press, 2017
Marijuana legalization is unfolding across the American West, but cultivation of the cannabis plant is anything but green. Unregulated outdoor grows are polluting ecosystems, high-powered indoor grows are churning out an excessive carbon footprint, and the controversial crop is becoming an agricultural boon just as the region faces an unprecedented water crisis.

To understand how we got here and how the legal cannabis industry might become more environmentally sustainable, Grass Roots looks at the history of marijuana growing in the American West, from early Mexican American growers on sugar beet farms to today’s sophisticated greenhouse gardens. Over the past eighty years, federal marijuana prohibition has had a multitude of consequences, but one of the most important is also one of the most overlooked—environmental degradation. Grass Roots argues that the most environmentally negligent farming practices—such as indoor growing—were borne out of prohibition. Now those same practices are continuing under legalization.

Grass Roots uses the history of cannabis as a crop to make sense of its regulation in the present, highlighting current efforts to make the marijuana industry more sustainable. In exploring the agricultural history of cannabis, There are many social and political histories of cannabis, but in considering cannabis as a plant rather than as a drug, Grass Roots offers the only agriculturally focused history to date.

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Holding Our Ground
Protecting America's Farms And Farmland
Tom Daniels and Deborah Bowers
Island Press, 1997

Farmers, who own or rent most of the private land in America, hold the key not only to the nation's food supply, but also to managing community growth, maintaining an attractive landscape, and protecting water and wildlife resources.

While the issue of protecting farmland and open space is not new, the intensity of the challenge has increased. Farmers are harder pressed to make a living, and rural and suburban communities are struggling to accommodate increasing populations and the development that comes with them. Holding Our Ground can help landowners and communities devise and implement effective strategies for protecting farmland. The book:

  • discusses the reasons for protecting farmland and how to make those reasons widely known and understood
  • describes the business of farming, federal government farm programs, and the role of land in farmers's decisions
  • analyzes federal, state, and local farmland protection efforts and techniques
  • explores a variety of land protection options including purchase of development rights; transfer of development rights; private land trusts; and financial, tax, and estate planning
  • reviews the strengths and weaknesses of the farmland protection tools available
The authors describe the many challenges involved in protecting farmland and explain how to create a package of techniques that can meet those challenges. In addition, they offer appendixes with model zoning ordinances, nuisance disclaimers, conservation easements, and other documents that individuals and communities need to carry out the programs discussed.

Holding Our Ground provides citizens, elected officials, planners, and landowners with a solid basis for understanding the issues behind farmland protection, and will be an invaluable resource in developing techniques and programs for achieving long-term protection goals.


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How to Feed the World
Jessica Eise and Ken Foster
Island Press, 2018
By 2050, we will have ten billion mouths to feed in a world profoundly altered by environmental change. How can we meet this challenge? In How to Feed the World, a diverse group of experts from Purdue University break down this crucial question by tackling big issues one-by-one. Covering population, water, land, climate change, technology, food systems, trade, food waste and loss, health, social buy-in, communication, and, lastly, the ultimate challenge of achieving equal access to food, the book reveals a complex web of factors that must be addressed in order to reach global food security.
How to Feed the World unites contributors from different perspectives and academic disciplines, ranging from agronomy and hydrology to agricultural economy and communication. Hailing from Germany, the Philippines, the U.S., Ecuador, and beyond, the contributors weave their own life experiences into their chapters, connecting global issues to our tangible, day-to-day existence. Across every chapter, a similar theme emerges: these are not simple problems, yet we can overcome them. Doing so will require cooperation between farmers, scientists, policy makers, consumers, and many others.
The resulting collection is an accessible but wide-ranging look at the modern food system. Readers will not only get a solid grounding in key issues, but be challenged to investigate further and contribute to the paramount effort to feed the world. 

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How to Start a Farm Stop
A Pattern Language for Local Food Systems
Kathryn Barr
Michigan Publishing Services, 2023
Our current agricultural system favors large-scale, industrialized farms made to produce monocrops that are shipped all over the world. Consumers are sold on the idea that this system keeps food cheap and affordable, but it also means that middlemen take much of the profits while greenhouse gas emissions run high. The Argus Farm Stop in Ann Arbor, Michigan’s model provides economic and cultural benefits as well as enhanced resiliency for the farmers and communities they serve. This guidebook outlines the benefits and challenges of implementing this consignment-based business model. It highlights best practices, offers resources and technical assistance for the establishment of additional Farm Stops around the country, and prioritizes the development of regional, circular sustainable food systems that empower local farmers and enrich communities.

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In a Pickle
A Family Farm Story
Jerry Apps
University of Wisconsin Press, 2008
The year is 1955. Andy Meyer, a young farmer, manages the pickle factory in Link Lake, a rural town where the farms are small, the conversation is meandering, and the feeling is distinctly Midwestern. Workers sort, weigh, and dump cucumbers into huge vats where the pickles cure, providing a livelihood to local farmers. But the H. H. Harlow Pickle Company has appeared in town, using heavy-handed tactics to force family farmers to either farm the Harlow way or lose their biggest customer—and, possibly, their land. Andy, himself the owner of a half-acre pickle patch, works part-time for the Harlow Company, a conflict that places him between the family farm and the big corporation. As he sees how Harlow begins to change the rural community and the lives of its people, Andy must make personal, ethical, and life-changing decisions.
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Outstanding Book, selected by the Public Library Association

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In the Shadows of State and Capital
The United Fruit Company, Popular Struggle, and Agrarian Restructuring in Ecuador, 1900–1995
Steve Striffler
Duke University Press, 2002
Winner of the 2001 President’s Award of the Social Science History Association

In the Shadows of State and Capital tells the story of how Ecuadorian peasants gained, and then lost, control of the banana industry. Providing an ethnographic history of the emergence of subcontracting within Latin American agriculture and of the central role played by class conflict in this process, Steve Striffler looks at the quintessential form of twentieth-century U.S. imperialism in the region—the banana industry and, in particular, the United Fruit Company (Chiquita). He argues that, even within this highly stratified industry, popular struggle has contributed greatly to processes of capitalist transformation and historical change.
Striffler traces the entrance of United Fruit into Ecuador during the 1930s, its worker-induced departure in the 1960s, the troubled process through which contract farming emerged during the last half of the twentieth century, and the continuing struggles of those involved. To explore the influence of both peasant activism and state power on the withdrawal of multinational corporations from banana production, Striffler draws on state and popular archives, United Fruit documents, and extensive oral testimony from workers, peasants, political activists, plantation owners, United Fruit administrators, and state bureaucrats. Through an innovative melding of history and anthropology, he demonstrates that, although peasant-workers helped dismantle the foreign-owned plantation, they were unable to determine the broad contours through which the subsequent system of production—contract farming—emerged and transformed agrarian landscapes throughout Latin America.
By revealing the banana industry’s impact on processes of state formation in Latin America, In the Shadows of State and Capital will interest historians, anthropologists, and political scientists, as well as scholars of globalization and agrarian studies.


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The Intended and Unintended Effects of U.S. Agricultural and Biotechnology Policies
Edited by Joshua S. Graff Zivin and Jeffrey M. Perloff
University of Chicago Press, 2012

Using economic models and empirical analysis, this volume examines a wide range of agricultural and biofuel policy issues and their effects on American agricultural and related agrarian insurance markets. Beginning with a look at the distribution of funds by insurance programs—created to support farmers but often benefiting crop processors instead—the book then examines the demand for biofuel and the effects of biofuel policies on agricultural price uncertainty. Also discussed are genetically engineered crops, which are assuming an increasingly important role in arbitrating tensions between energy production, environmental protection, and the global food supply. Other contributions discuss the major effects of genetic engineering on worldwide food markets. By addressing some of the most challenging topics at the intersection of agriculture and biotechnology, this volume informs crucial debates.


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A Land of Milk and Butter
How Elites Created the Modern Danish Dairy Industry
Markus Lampe and Paul Sharp
University of Chicago Press, 2018
How and why does Denmark have one of the richest, most equal, and happiest societies in the world today? Historians have often pointed to developments from the late nineteenth century, when small peasant farmers worked together through agricultural cooperatives, whose exports of butter and bacon rapidly gained a strong foothold on the British market.

This book presents a radical retelling of this story, placing (largely German-speaking) landed elites—rather than the Danish peasantry—at center stage. After acquiring estates in Denmark, these elites imported and adapted new practices from outside the kingdom, thus embarking on an ambitious program of agricultural reform and sparking a chain of events that eventually led to the emergence of Denmark’s famous peasant cooperatives in 1882. A Land of Milk and Butter presents a new interpretation of the origin of these cooperatives with striking implications for developing countries today.

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Making Local Food Work
The Challenges and Opportunities of Today's Small Farmers
Brandi Janssen
University of Iowa Press, 2017
When it comes to local food, it takes more than “knowing your farmer.” Brandi Janssen takes on some of the myths about how the local food system works and what it needs to thrive. Advocates claim that small biodiverse farms will fundamentally change farming, rural communities, and the American diet. For many, simply by knowing our farmers we become champions of a new way of eating that revolutionizes our economy and society. But that argument ignores the fact that if local food is to succeed, it requires many of the trappings of conventional food production, including processors, middle men, inspectors, and regulators.

By listening to and working alongside people trying to build a local food system in Iowa, Janssen uncovers the complex realities of making it work. Although the state is better known for its vast fields of conventionally grown corn and soybeans, it has long boasted a robust network of small, diverse farms, community supported agriculture enterprises, and farmers’ markets. As she picks tomatoes, processes wheatgrass, and joins a parents’ committee trying to buy local lettuce for a school lunch, Janssen asks how small farmers and CSA owners deal with farmers’ market regulations, neighbors who spray pesticides on crops or lawns, and sanitary regulations on meat processing and milk production. How can they meet the needs of large buyers like school districts? Who does the hard work of planting, weeding, harvesting, and processing? Is local food production benefitting rural communities as much as advocates claim?

In answering these questions, Janssen displays the pragmatism and level-headedness one would expect of the heartland, much like the farmers and processors profiled here. It’s doable, she states, but we’re going to have to do more than shop at our local farmers’ market to make it happen. This book is an ideal introduction to what local food means today and what it might be tomorrow.

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The Marketing of Farm Products
Studies in the Organization of the Twin Cities Market
H. Price
University of Minnesota Press, 1927
The Marketing of Farm Products was first published in 1927. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.Fourteen specialists, including Professor John D. Black of Harvard University, and Dr. Holbrook Working, economist of the Stanford University Food Research Institute cooperated in these studies under the editorship of Professor H. Bruce Price.The book is designed as a text for use in high schools and college classes in agricultural economics and is equipped with references for reading, tables, charts, maps, and an index. In addition to chapters describing the organization of the Minneapolis-St. Paul market for grain, hay, livestock, potatoes, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables, there are included discussions of the historical geographical, and theoretical aspects of the subject. It will prove a valuable reference work also for businessmen, and producers and consumers of farm products in the Twin Cities market area—a territory extending west and north into Montana and Canada, and east and south into Wisconsin and Iowa.

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The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin
James Norton and Becca Dilley
University of Wisconsin Press, 2009
This book—beautifully photographed and engagingly written—introduces hardworking, resourceful men and women who represent an artisanal craft that has roots in Europe but has been a Wisconsin tradition since the 1850s. Wisconsin produces more than 600 varieties of cheese, from massive wheels of cheddar and swiss to bricks of brick and limburger, to such specialties as crescenza-stracchino and juustoleipa. These masters combine tradition, technology, artistry, and years of dedicated learning—in a profession that depends on fickle, living ingredients—to create the rich tastes and beautiful presentation of their skillfully crafted products.
    Certification as a Master Cheesemaker typically takes almost fifteen years. An applicant must hold a cheesemaking license for at least ten years, create one or two chosen varieties of cheese for at least five years, take more than two years of university courses, consent to constant testing of their cheese and evaluation of their plant, and pass grueling oral and written exams to be awarded the prestigious title.
    James Norton and Becca Dilley interviewed these dairy artisans, listened to their stories, tasted their cheeses, and explored the plants where they work. They offer here profiles of forty-three active Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin, as well as a glossary of cheesemaking terms, suggestions of operations that welcome visitors for tours, tasting notes and suggested food pairings, and tasty nuggets (shall we say curds?) of information on everything to do with cheese.
Winner, Best Midwest Regional Interest Book, Midwest Book Awards

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The Nature of the Future
Agriculture, Science, and Capitalism in the Antebellum North
Emily Pawley
University of Chicago Press, 2020
The Nature of the Future plumbs the innovative, far-ranging, and sometimes downright strange agricultural schemes of nineteenth-century farms in the northern US.

The nostalgic mist surrounding farms can make it hard to write their history, encrusting them with stereotypical rural virtues and unrealistically separating them from markets, capitalism, and urban influences. The Nature of the Future dispels this mist, focusing on a place and period of enormous agricultural vitality—antebellum New York State—to examine the largest, most diverse, and most active scientific community in nineteenth-century America. Emily Pawley shows how “improving” farmers practiced a science where conflicting visions of the future landscape appeared and evaporated in quick succession. Drawing from US history, environmental history, and the history of science, and extensively mining a wealth of antebellum agricultural publications, The Nature of the Future reveals how improvers transformed American landscapes and American ideas of expertise, success, and exploitation from the ground up.

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The Oil Palm Complex
Smallholders, Agribusiness and the State in Indonesia and Malaysia
Edited by Robert Cramb and John F. McCarthy
National University of Singapore Press, 2016
The oil palm industry has transformed rural livelihoods and landscapes across wide swathes of Indonesia and Malaysia, generating wealth along with economic, social, and environmental controversy. Who benefits and who loses from oil palm development? Can oil palm development provide a basis for inclusive and sustainable rural development? 

Based on detailed studies of  specific communities and plantations and an analysis of the regional political economy of oil palm, this book unpicks the dominant policy narratives, business strategies, models of land acquisition, and labour-processes. It presents the oil palm industry in Malaysia and Indonesia as a complex system in which land, labour and capital are closely interconnected. Understanding this complex is a prerequisite to developing better strategies to harness the oil palm boom for a more equitable and sustainable pattern of rural development.

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One Small Farm
Photographs of a Wisconsin Way of Life
Craig Schreiner
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2013

“People’s lives are written on the fields of old farms. The rows of the fields are like lines on a page, blank and white in winter, filled in with each year’s story of happiness, disappointment, drought, rain, sun, scarcity, plenty. The chapters accumulate, and people enter and leave the narrative. Only the farm goes on.”—From the Introduction

In One Small Farm, Craig Schreiner’s evocative color photographs capture one family as they maintain the rhythms and routines of small farm life near Pine Bluff, Wisconsin. “Milk in the morning and milk at night. Feed the cows and calves. Plant crops. Grind feed. Chop and bale hay. Cut wood. Clean the barn. Spread manure on the fields. Plow snow and split wood in winter. In spring, pick rocks from the fields. Cultivate corn. Pick corn. Harvest oats and barley. Help calves be born. Milk in the morning and milk at night.”
There’s much more to life on the farm than just chores, of course, and Schreiner captures the rhythms and richness of everyday life on the farm in all seasons, evoking both the challenges and the joys and providing viewers a window into a world that is quickly fading. In documenting the Lamberty family’s daily work and life, these thoughtful photos explore larger questions concerning the future of small farm agriculture, Wisconsin cultural traditions, and the rural way of life.


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Plowman's Folly and A Second Look
Edward H. Faulkner; Introduction by Paul B. Sears
Island Press, 1987
As the ruinous Dust Bowl settled in the early 1940s, agronomist Edward Faulkner dropped what Nature magazine termed "an agricultural bombshell" when he blamed the then universally used moldboard plow for disastrous pillage of the soil. Faulkner's assault on the orthodoxy of his day will stimulate today's farmers to seek out fresh solutions to the problems that plague modern American agriculture. Plowman's Folly is bound together here with its companion volume A Second Look.

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The Profit of the Earth
The Global Seeds of American Agriculture
Courtney Fullilove
University of Chicago Press, 2017
While there is enormous public interest in biodiversity, food sourcing, and sustainable agriculture, romantic attachments to heirloom seeds and family farms have provoked misleading fantasies of an unrecoverable agrarian past. The reality, as Courtney Fullilove shows, is that seeds are inherently political objects transformed by the ways they are gathered, preserved, distributed, regenerated, and improved. In The Profit of the Earth, Fullilove unearths the history of American agricultural development and of seeds as tools and talismans put in its service.
Organized into three thematic parts, The Profit of the Earth is a narrative history of the collection, circulation, and preservation of seeds. Fullilove begins with the political economy of agricultural improvement, recovering the efforts of the US Patent Office and the nascent US Department of Agriculture to import seeds and cuttings for free distribution to American farmers. She then turns to immigrant agricultural knowledge, exploring how public and private institutions attempting to boost midwestern wheat yields drew on the resources of willing and unwilling settlers. Last, she explores the impact of these cereal monocultures on biocultural diversity, chronicling a fin-de-siècle Ohio pharmacist’s attempt to source Purple Coneflower from the diminishing prairie. Through these captivating narratives of improvisation, appropriation, and loss, Fullilove explores contradictions between ideologies of property rights and common use that persist in national and international development—ultimately challenging readers to rethink fantasies of global agriculture’s past and future.

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Pushing Cool
Big Tobacco, Racial Marketing, and the Untold Story of the Menthol Cigarette
Keith Wailoo
University of Chicago Press, 2021
Spanning a century, Pushing Cool reveals how the twin deceptions of health and Black affinity for menthol were crafted—and how the industry’s disturbingly powerful narrative has endured to this day.

Police put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold for selling cigarettes on a New York City street corner. George Floyd was killed by police outside a store in Minneapolis known as “the best place to buy menthols.” Black smokers overwhelmingly prefer menthol brands such as Kool, Salem, and Newport. All of this is no coincidence. The disproportionate Black deaths and cries of “I can’t breathe” that ring out in our era—because of police violence, COVID-19, or menthol smoking—are intimately connected to a post-1960s history of race and exploitation.

In Pushing Cool, Keith Wailoo tells the intricate and poignant story of menthol cigarettes for the first time. He pulls back the curtain to reveal the hidden persuaders who shaped menthol buying habits and racial markets across America: the world of tobacco marketers, consultants, psychologists, and social scientists, as well as Black lawmakers and civic groups including the NAACP. Today most Black smokers buy menthols, and calls to prohibit their circulation hinge on a history of the industry’s targeted racial marketing. In 2009, when Congress banned flavored cigarettes as criminal enticements to encourage youth smoking, menthol cigarettes were also slated to be banned. Through a detailed study of internal tobacco industry documents, Wailoo exposes why they weren’t and how they remain so popular with Black smokers.

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The Rise and Fall of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union in Arkansas
James D. Ross
University of Tennessee Press, 2018

Founded in eastern Arkansas during the Great Depression, the Southern Tenant Farmers Union (STFU) has long fascinated historians, who have emphasized its biracial membership and the socialist convictions of its leaders, while attributing its demise to external factors, such as the mechanization of agriculture, the repression of wealthy planters, and the indifference of New Dealers. However, as James Ross notes in this compelling revisionist history, such accounts have largely ignored the perspective of the actual sharecroppers and other tenant farmers who made up the union’s rank and file.

Drawing on a rich trove of letters that STFU members wrote to union leaders, government officials, and others, Ross shows that internal divisions were just as significant—if not more so—as outside causes in the union’s ultimate failure. Most important, the STFU’s fatal flaw was the yawning gap between the worldviews of its leadership and those of its members. Ross describes how, early on, STFU secretary H. L. Mitchell promoted the union as one involving many voices—sometimes in harmony, sometimes in discord—but later pushed a more simplified narrative of a few people doing most of the union’s work. Struck by this significant change, Ross explores what the actual goals of the rank and file were and what union membership meant to them. “While the white leaders may have expressed a commitment to racial justice, white members often did not,” he writes. “While the union’s socialist and communist leaders may have hoped for cooperative land ownership, the members often did not.” Above all, the poor farmers who made up the membership wanted their immediate needs for food and shelter met, and they wanted to own their own land and thus determine their own futures. Moreover, while the leadership often took its inspiration from Marx, the membership’s worldview was shaped by fundamentalist, Pentecostal Christianity.

In portraying such tensions and how they factored into the union’s implosion, Ross not only offers a more nuanced view of the STFU, he also makes a powerful new contribution to our understanding of the Depression-era South.


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Risks in Agricultural Supply Chains
Edited by Pol Antràs and David Zilberman
University of Chicago Press, 2023

An essential guide to the role of microeconomic incentives, macro policies, and technological change in enhancing agriculture resilience.

Climate change and the recent COVID-19 pandemic have exposed the vulnerability of global agricultural supply and value chains. There is a growing awareness of the importance of interactions within and between these supply chains for understanding the performance of agricultural markets. This book presents a collection of research studies that develop conceptual models and empirical analyses of risk resilience and vulnerability in supply chains. The chapters emphasize the roles played by microeconomic incentives, macroeconomic policies, and technological change in contributing to supply chain performance. The studies range widely, considering for example how agent-based modeling and remote sensing data can be used to assess the impact of shocks, and how recent shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the African Swine fever in China affected agricultural labor markets, the supply chain for meat products, and the food retailing sector. A recurring theme is the transformation of agricultural supply chains and the volatility of food systems in response to microeconomic shocks. The chapters not only present new findings but also point to important directions for future research.


front cover of Seeds of Occupation, Seeds of Possibility
Seeds of Occupation, Seeds of Possibility
The Agrochemical-GMO Industry in Hawai‘i
Andrea Noelani Brower
West Virginia University Press, 2022
How Hawaiʻi became the epicenter of the biotech seed industry, and how a resistance movement arose to confront the industry’s power.

Hawaiʻi is a primary site for development of herbicide-resistant corn seed and, until recently, was host to more experimental field trials of genetically engineered crops than anywhere else in the world. It is also a node of powerful resistance. While documentaries and popular news stories have profiled the biotech seed industry in Hawaiʻi, Seeds of Occupation, Seeds of Possibility is the first book to detail the social and historical conditions by which the chemical-seed oligopoly came to occupy the most geographically isolated islands in the world and made the soils of Hawaiʻi the epicenter of agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology testing.

Andrea Brower, an activist-scholar from Hawaiʻi, examines the consequences related to genetically engineered seed development for Hawaiʻi’s people and the social movement that has risen in response. With insights beyond the islands, Seeds of Occupation, Seeds of Possibility illuminates why visions for a radically better world must be expanded by intersectional and systemically oriented movements.

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Selected Writings on Agricultural Policy and Economic Analysis
Frederick V. WaughJames P. Houck and Martin E. Abel, Editors
University of Minnesota Press, 1984

Selected Writings on Agricultural Policy and Economic Analysis was first published in

1984. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

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The Soybean Industry
With Special Reference to the Competitive Position of the Minnesota Producer and Processor
Ray A. Goldberg
University of Minnesota Press, 1952

The Soybean Industry was first published in 1952. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

The rapid development of the soybean industry in the United States is reflected in the growth of the industry in Minnesota, a state that now ranks sixth in total production. This state was one of the last to develop a soybean crop, but in the decade from 1940 to 1950 the dollar value of its crop rose from $76,000 to $37,000,000.

Because the industry is a new and important one on the agricultural front, producers and processors in the industry, as well as members of the grain trade and agricultural economists, are faced with the problem of ascertaining the probably future trends of the industry. This study provides a factual basis for the industry's future planning in Minnesota and in other major soybean-producing and processing states.

Since the total picture of supply and demand and the operation of the industry within a single state are interrelated and interdependent, the study describes the elements of production, utilization, and processing on international, national, and state levels. These factors are then correlated with significant aspects of transportation, storage, commodity markets, and price formulation for an analysis of the competitive position of the industry in Minnesota. In conclusion, the future of the industry as a whole as well as specifically in Minnesota is estimated.


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Sweet Tyranny
Migrant Labor, Industrial Agriculture, and Imperial Politics
Kathleen Mapes
University of Illinois Press, 2008
In this innovative grassroots to global study, Kathleen Mapes explores how the sugar beet industry transformed the rural Midwest by introducing large factories, contract farming, and foreign migrant labor. Identifying rural areas as centers for modern American industrialism, Mapes contributes to an ongoing reorientation of labor history from urban factory workers to rural migrant workers. She engages with a full range of individuals, including Midwestern family farmers, industrialists, Eastern European and Mexican immigrants, child laborers, rural reformers, Washington politicos, and colonial interests. Engagingly written, Sweet Tyranny demonstrates that capitalism was not solely a force from above but was influenced by the people below who defended their interests in an ever-expanding imperialist market.

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Transforming Masculine Rule
Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Union
Elisabeth Prügl
University of Michigan Press, 2011

"The premise of mainstreaming gender is to bring equality concerns into every aspect of policy-making, and this brave book offers a close look at how feminists have taken up the challenge to transform the hidden dynamics of male domination in agricultural policy in Europe. In contrast to the automatic assumption that (neo)liberal policy always works against women’s interests, Prügl demonstrates the potential for feminist ju-jitsu to take advantage of multiple levels of governance to empower women in some circumstances. Although feminists were not always successful, the story of their efforts to remake agricultural policy should encourage activists to look for points of leverage in this and other contested and changing multilevel power systems."
---Myra Marx Ferree, University of Wisconsin

"Information on policy development, conflicts about improving the status of farm women, and using rural development policies to foster gender equality is hard to access in English and extremely useful for researchers concerned with the specifics of gender equality policy in the EU."
---Alison Woodward, Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

"This book is a must-read for scholars interested in the gendered process of global restructuring. Elisabeth Prügl succeeds superbly in teasing out the power politics involved in European agricultural policy. Through the lens of a feminist-constructivist approach, she makes visible the multiple mechanisms of gendered power within the state. This very lucid narrative is a milestone in a new generation of feminist theoretical scholarship."
---Brigitte Young, University of Muenster, Germany

Taking West and East Germany as case studies, Elisabeth Prügl shows how European agricultural policy has cemented long-standing gender-based inequalities and how feminists have used liberalization as an opportunity to challenge such inequalities. Through a comparison of the EU’s rural development program known as LEADER as it played out in the Altmark region in the German East and in the Danube/Bavarian Forest region in the West, Prügl provides a close-up view of the power politics involved in government policies and programs.

In identifying mechanisms of power (refusal, co-optation, compromise, normalization, and silencing of difference), Prügl illustrates how these mechanisms operate in arguments over gender relations within the state. Her feminist-constructivist approach to global restructuring as a gendered process brings into view multiple levels of governance and the variety of gender constructions operating in different societies. Ultimately, Prügl offers a new understanding of patriarchy as diverse, contested, and in flux.

Jacket photograph: © Kryczka


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Trees, Why Do you Wait?
America's Changing Rural Culture
Richard Critchfield
Island Press, 1991

Richard Critchfield, author of the best-selling books Villages and An American Looks at Britain, examines the inescapable link between the decline of America's rural roots and the decay of our cities. Trees, Why Do You Wait? is a moving oral history chronicling the changes taking place in rural America. Through it, we meet real people of the heartland and feel the suffering and the strength in their relationship to the land.


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Voices from the Heart of the Land
Rural Stories that Inspire Community
Richard L. Cates Jr.
University of Wisconsin Press, 2008
From 2001 to 2006, Richard L. Cates Jr. interviewed senior members of more than 30 families living in and around Arena township, a small community in southern Wisconsin. He asked them about growing up in rural America and their connection to a way of life that is vanishing in the twenty-first century.
The result, Voices from the Heart of the Land, is a collection of reminiscences, observations, and opinions celebrating the stewardship of the land and the values of the stewards. Of course, as Cates points out, these are nothing less than “our core human values—integrity, commitment, responsibility, citizenship, self-determination, decency, kindness, love, and hope.”

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The War on Wine
Prohibition, Neoprohibition, and American Culture
Victor W. Geraci
University of Nevada Press, 2023

The development of an American wine ethos.

The history of wine is a tale of capitalist production and consumer experience, and early Americans embraced the idea of having their own wine culture. But many began to believe that excessive alcohol consumption had become a moral, ethical, economic, political, social, and health conundrum. The result was a national on-again, off-again relationship with the concept of an American wine culture. 

Citizens struggled to build a wine culture patterned after their diasporic European custom of wine as a moderating beverage that was part of a healthy diet. Yet, as America grew, untold attempts to create a wine culture failed due to climate, pests, diseases, wars, and depressions, resulting in some people considering the nation an alcoholic republic. Thus began an anti-alcohol culture war aimed at restricting or prohibiting alcoholic beverages. 

With the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition), a culture war started between wet and dry proponents. After the repeal of Prohibition, the decimated wine industry responded by forming the Wine Institute to rebrand wine’s role in American society, after which neoprohibitionists attempted to restrict alcohol availability and consumption. To confront these aggressive actions, the Wine Institute hired politically trained John A. De Luca to navigate the new attacks and pushed for rebranding wine as a cultural spirit with health benefits.


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West Virginia
Its Farms and Forests, Mines and Oil-Wells
J. R. Dodge
West Virginia University Press, 2011

West Virginia: Its Farms and Forests, Mines and Oil-Wells celebrates the state of West Virginia. Originally published in 1865 as a series of studies on mineral resources, observations on agriculture, and interviews with businessmen, West Virginia details the industrial statistics, terrain, and population of a state during its infancy. With no record of natural wealth or reported transactions of agriculture or geography prior to this overview, West Virginia sparked the curiosity of non-residents, enticing investment and settlement through descriptions of abundant natural resources and an agreeable industrial condition. With an introduction by Kenneth R. Bailey, this new edition reminds us of the state’s alluring beginning and rich, yet often exploited development.


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Western Stock Ranching
Mont H. Saunderson
University of Minnesota Press, 1950

Western Stock Ranching was first published in 1950. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Successful management of a stock ranch today requires a thorough, specialized knowledge of the land, the livestock, and the financial methods involved. This facts and figures study by an expert with long experience as a range economist deals with the working problems of sheep and cattle ranching and provides authoritative information on how to operate a ranch profitably.

The business of ranching is analyzed in terms of markets, prices and incomes, management standards and guides for production, financial planning and reports, production cost analysis, ranch appraisal, rangeland management, and procedures in the use of government lands. The various natural regions of the West are surveyed and the types of ranches found in each section are described.

In addition to considering in detail everyday ranch problems, the author realistically discusses the long-range problems confronting western stock ranchers as a group. Photographs, tables, sample accounting forms, and actual case illustrations add greatly to the usefulness of the book.

Owners and operators of stock ranches, persons planning to enter the business, professional agriculturalists specializing in credit, marketing, or management, and teachers of courses in ranch management and economy will find this an invaluable reference or text.


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When Horses Pulled the Plow
Life of a Wisconsin Farm Boy, 1910–1929
Olaf F. Larson
University of Wisconsin Press, 2011
In 1910, when Olaf F. Larson was born to tenant livestock and tobacco farmers in Rock County, Wisconsin, the original barn still stood on the property. It was filled with artifacts of an earlier time—an ox yoke, a grain cradle, a scythe used to cut hay by hand. But Larson came of age in a brave new world of modern inventions—tractors, trucks, combines, airplanes—that would change farming and rural life forever.
            When Horses Pulled the Plow is Larson’s account of that rural life in the early twentieth century. He weaves invaluable historical details—including descriptions of farm equipment, crops, and livestock—with wry tales about his family, neighbors, and the one-room schoolhouse he attended, revealing the texture of everyday life in the rural Midwest almost a century ago. This memoir, written by Larson in his ninth decade, provides a wealth of details recalled from an earlier era and an illuminating read for anyone with their own memories of growing up on a farm.

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Wine By Design
Santa Barbara's Quest for Terroir
Victor W. Geraci
University of Nevada Press, 2020
From its eighteenth-century beginnings, the Santa Barbara wine industry achieved success by embracing a “wine by design” model. In this process farmers, winemakers, and entrepreneurs overcome roadblocks like diseases, government policies and regulations, and environmental concerns by utilizing the latest technological advances coupled with agribusiness capitalism.

As the American demand for premium wine grapes intensified in the late twentieth century, the Northern California wine industry rapidly grew its boutique and innovative local designer winemaking to increase profit to meet demand and compete on a global scale. Set in the context of the regional, national, and global wine community, this story illuminates a regional story of how the Santa Barbara wine industry found solutions to current market conditions while utilizing local traditions to develop a new version of local wine terroir. An accomplishment that allowed them to compete in the global marketplace yet develop highly specialized wine that is unique to the region.

By employing leading-edge technology and entrepreneurship, the California Central Coast region of Santa Barbara became a model for the American vision of agricultural innovation and an integral part of the international wine trade, developing a personalized version of local wine terroir.


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World Agriculture and the Environment
A Commodity-By-Commodity Guide To Impacts And Practices
Jason Clay; World Wildlife Fund
Island Press, 2003

World Agriculture and the Environment presents a unique assessment of agricultural commodity production and the environmental problems it causes, along with prescriptions for increasing efficiency and reducing damage to natural systems. Drawing on his extensive travel and research in agricultural regions around the world, and employing statistics from a range of authoritative sources including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the author examines twenty of the world’s major crops, including beef, coffee, corn, rice, rubber, shrimp, sorghum, tea, and tobacco. For each crop, he offers comparative information including:

• a “fast facts” overview section that summarizes key data for the crop
• main producing and consuming countries
• main types of production
• market trend information and market chain analyses
• major environmental impacts
• management strategies and best practices
• key contacts and references
With maps of major commodity production areas worldwide, the book represents the first truly global portrait of agricultural production patterns and environmental impacts.

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