Should Family Farms Be Saved?

May 6, 1988

Report Outline
Special Focus


The farm economy is improving, but the biggest farms are still doing the best financially. The future looks bleak for America's “family farms.” Should the government come to the rescue, or is it finally time to bury the “agrarian myth” and treat farming like the business it is?

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Jessica Lange choked back tear. “It is heartbreaking to witness their anguish as they watch their lives being stripped away,” she said. The star of the 1984 movie “Country” was talking about troubled American farmers, but she was not emoting on screen. Lange, together with Jane Fonda and Sissy Spacek, was testifying in May 1985 before the House Democratic Caucus Task Force on Agriculture. The actresses were there, Fonda explained, “to underscore the gravity of the [farm] crisis.”

While this pseudo-event was easy for critics to deride and dismiss, it actually was a perfect symbol for the plight of America's family farms, which also involves a confusing blend of the real and the imaginary.

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Dec. 13, 2019  Rural Health
Mar. 31, 2017  Reviving Rural Economies
May 09, 2003  Crisis on the Plains
Jul. 20, 1990  The Continuing Decline of Rural America
May 06, 1988  Should Family Farms Be Saved?
Nov. 23, 1979  Rural Health Care
Aug. 15, 1975  Rural Migration
Feb. 09, 1939  Economic Changes in the Southern States
Farm Loans, Insurance, and Subsidies
Small Business