Compelling, deeply personal narrative reveals the larger story of American agriculture.
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, October 5, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — In 2019, half of America’s two million farms made less than $300. For Beth Hoffman, a journalist who’d spent decades reporting on food and agriculture, the hard financial truths of farming became painfully clear after she and her husband packed up their San Francisco life and moved to his family’s 530-acre farm in Iowa.
“Bet the Farm: The Dollars and Sense of Growing Food in America” (Publication Date: October 5, 2021) is a compelling, deeply personal narrative that delivers a unique view into the realities of the American farm. As a beginning farmer, Hoffman and her husband need to negotiate with her father-in-law, who is reluctant to hand over control of the land. They have to find somewhere – anywhere – to slaughter grass-finished beef and must weather the losses of a failed oat crop. Through her own struggles, Hoffman reveals the larger story of American agriculture and explores how a more economically and environmentally sustainable system may be possible.
“Bet the Farm” looks at issues as far ranging as a changing climate, rising land costs, limited health care options, ever-more expensive equipment, and farming’s emotional toll. But it also looks at the role myths play in pitting farmers against each other, trapping them in endless cycles of debt, and encouraging self-exploitation. Hoffman calls for a new national narrative, one that honestly addresses the financial realities of farming and reckons with agriculture’s dark history.
With savings and access to farmland, Hoffman knows full well that she’s among the privileged. If she can’t make it, how can farmers who also have to confront racism, lack access to land, or don’t have other jobs afford to farm?
Beth Hoffman is a beginning farmer on almost 530 acres in Iowa. For the last twenty years, she has worked as a journalist covering food and agriculture. Her work has been aired and published on NPR’s Morning Edition, The Guardian, The Salt, Latino USA, and the News Hour.
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