FARMERS: So Long, Ed

Edward Asbury O'Neal III is no dirt farmer. A jovial man with a Southern planter's courtliness, he likes good clothes, good living and glittery functions. He habitually has two bourbon toddies before dinner and is equally at ease wielding a salad fork or a gavel ("Let's us folks give that gennaman from Miss'ippi a chance to say what's botherin' 'im").

Yet Ed O'Neal, tough and profane as well as courtly, has been the most powerful spokesman U.S. farmers have ever had. All during the Roosevelt years, he—more than any other man—shaped U.S. farm...

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