Cover image for The fate of family farming : variations on an American idea
The fate of family farming : variations on an American idea
Jager, Ronald.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hanover [N.H.] : University Press of New England, [2004]

Physical Description:
xx, 244 pages ; 24 cm
The idea of family farming : four historical movements -- Farming in New Hampshire -- Agrarianism : three defining voices -- Maple : the sweet good-bye of winter at Bascom's -- Got milk? : Eccardt Farm, Inc. -- Cornucopia : eggs and corn at the Coll Farm -- Apples : the glow of autumn at Gould Hill -- The ironies of success -- Biotechnology and the future -- The soul of agriculture.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
S441 .J27 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Fate of Family Farming employs a hands-on approach, with much local New England detail, in its exploration of the history and future of American family farming as an idea and as an ongoing way of life. Early chapters situate family farming within American history, beginning with Jamestown and Plymouth, continuing with Jefferson, Emerson and others, and including the technological transformations occuring in farming during the twentieth century. An extended chapter deals with the idea of agrarianism, and considers in detail the work of Louis Bromfield, Victor Hanson, and Wendell Berry. The middle section of the book opens a window on present-day farming with detailed portraits of four farms devoted, respectively, to the production of maple syrup, eggs and corn, milk, and apples. The author takes the reader to the barns and fields of these farms, introduces the farm families, helps the reader taste the syrup and corn and smell the silage and, ultimately, enables others to see the economic and ecological challenges that farmers today face, and to consider their strategies for survival. In the last portion of the book the author provides a very accessible examination of the role

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

A former Yale philosophy professor, Jager is the author of Eighty Acres and Last House on the Road, which considered, respectively, the author's experiences growing up on a small Michigan farm and rural life in New Hampshire (where he and his wife now live). Jager's new book takes a look at the past, present, and future of the American family farm. Part 1 examines the history (of ideas as well as practices) of family farming from this country's earliest times. There is a fascinating account of the ups and downs of farming in New Hampshire over the centuries and a discussion of the ideas of some important 20th-century agrarian thinkers, including Wendell Berry and Louis Bromfield. Part 2 focuses on four New Hampshire farm families and their present-day operations, including their challenges, successes, and aspirations. Finally, in Part 3, Jager examines future prospects in a world of agribusiness conglomerates, globalization, biotechnology, and cheap food. He believes that modern movements such as sustainable agriculture, niche farming, and farmers' markets hold some hope for small farmers. Jager's readable study provides an excellent background for anyone concerned about the future of agriculture and food in this country. Recommended for both public and academic libraries.-William H. Wiese, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.