farming, agriculture, farm community, crop insurance, farm program payments, welfare, subsidies, entitlements, land ownership, privilege, discrimination

Document Type



Our relation to the land changed as modern agriculture changed. Today many issues involving the land seem to focus on fear and conflict, revealing a fragility of agriculture surprising for how it confounds the expected image of strength and stability. In many ways, our fragile relation to the land contrasts to the optimism of the relation in the past, in the years of settlement and expansion. Part of the change reflects the adverse impacts of modern agriculture catching up with us, and part stems from a society more willing to focus on issues of equity, inclusion, and inequality. The good news is the current state of tensions on the land can’t obscure the land’s resiliency and its ability to offer hope. Rather than consider reasons for hope, this essay examines what brought us to a pattern of fear and conflict on the land.