Grim Reapings

A record crop buries farmers

In the 1901 novel The Octopus by Frank Norris, which romanticizes the grain farmer, the villain is buried alive under a mountain of wheat. Across the Midwest, many farmers are increasingly fearful that they are about to be buried financially in a similar fashion. Last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed its estimates of record U.S. and world grain production in 1982. In Minnesota and the Dakotas, farmers are stuffing unsold wheat into their sheds, leaving tractors and combines out in the cold. An abandoned coal mine near Quincy, Ill., and an ammunition depot in Hastings,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!