Agriculture: How To Succeed in Farming Without Creating a Mess

Agriculture Secretary Orville Freeman once summed up U.S. agriculture as half miracle and half mess. The miracle is the wondrous surge of farm productivity over the past few decades. Since 1920, farm output per worker in the U.S. has not just doubled or tripled, but quadrupled. The mess is twofold. There is the problem of overproduction. Freeman's Agriculture Department spends about $7 billion a year, largely in hapless efforts to cope with farm surpluses. And there is the problem of rural poverty. The average farm-family income from farming, according to U.S. Government statistics, is less than $3,000 a year—considerably...

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