The Myth Of The Family Farm : Agribusiness Dominance Of U.s. Agriculture
Author(s): Ingolf Vogeler
The ideal of the family farm has been used to justify a myriad of federal farm legislation. Land grants, the distribution of irrigation water, land-grant college research and services, farm programs, and tax laws all have been affected. Yet, asserts the author, federal legislation and practices have had an institutional bias toward large-scale farms and agribusiness and have hastened the demise of family farms. Dr. Vogeler examines the struggle between land interests in the private and public sectors and finds that the myth of the family farm has been used to obscure the dominance of agribusiness and that the corporate penetration of agriculture has in turn contributed to the plight of migrant workers, the decline of small towns, and the economic difficulties of independent farmers. Dr. Vogeler also identifies the major shortcomings of agribusiness and federal land-related laws and programs; examines the regional impact of agribusiness and federal farm programs on rural areas; and considers the role of racial minorities and women in the development of agrarian capitalism. In conclusion, he offers a structural analysis that provides the means for progressive social change and states that the achievement of economic equality in rural America and the dismantling of the corporate control of agriculture can be realized through farmer-labor alliances.