This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm

This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm

The family farm lies at the heart of our national identity, yet its future is in peril. Rick Hammond grew up on a small ranch, and for forty years he has raised cattle and crops on his wife’s fifth-generation homestead in York County, Nebraska, in hopes of passing it on to their four children. But as the handoff nears, their small family farm—and their entire way of life—are under siege. Rising corporate ownership of land and livestock is forcing small farmers to get bigger and bigger, assuming more debt and more risk. At the same time, after nearly a decade of record-high corn and soybean prices, the bottom has dropped out of the markets, making it ever harder for small farmers to shoulder their loans. All the while, the Hammonds are confronted by encroaching pipelines, groundwater depletion, climate change, and shifting trade policies. Far from an isolated refuge beyond the reach of global events, the family farm is increasingly at the crossroads of emerging technologies and international detente.

Following the Hammonds from harvest to harvest, Ted Genoways explores this rapidly changing landscape of small, traditional farming operations, mapping as it unfolds day to day. This Blessed Earth is both a concise exploration of the history of the American small farm and a vivid, nuanced portrait of one family’s fight to preserve their legacy and the life they love.

Title:This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm
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  • For the Hammonds, a Nebraska farming family, the 2014 harvest season started with a perfect storm of perilous circumstances: a spell of good weather led to nationwide crop overproduction and surpluses...

  • This is a Goodreads win review. I may not have enjoyed this book so much when I lived in Palm Springs, CA for 38 years. In the part I lived in we only grew tourists. Down they grow figs, dates, grapef...

  • Clear and succinct explanations of farming on USA , corn and soy beans mostly , using conventional organophosphates and manufactured fertilizer and gmo seed and aquifer water. Author does a great job ...

  • I have even more respect for the men and women who farm after reading this book. A possible water crisis addressed in the book is troubling, though....

  • This great book reads as smoothly as literary fiction, yet chronicles a really important subject in non-judgey tone. Ted Genoways has rural farm experience himself, but he doesn't draw solely on that ...

  • 'Unflinching' isn’t a term often bandied about when discussing farm reportage, but that’s what we have here in this journalistic take on the evolving “family farm” and what it means in contemp...

  • I'm a city girl at heart and enjoy my home in a metropolitan area, but I grew up in Montana, have known ranchers, and spent a few days with some of them. My husband is from rural Illinois and his good...

  • My real rating would probably be a 3.5, but I rounded up for the educational value of the book! As a farmer myself, I could really relate to a lot....the author writes thru/about/of a year spent with ...

  • Acclaimed journalist, Genoways, follows a 5th-generation Nebraska corn/soybean/cattle farm family for a year. While farm families will certainly recognize the hard work, complicated decision-making, r...

  • Sensitively and well written account of a family of farmers in Nebraska. At the mercy of the weather, futures traders, global trade, agribusiness, this family scrapes by. Genoways, a native of Nebrask...

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