The New Grapes of Wrath

Struggling farmers face the prospect of deep cuts in federal aid

"It's too late. They already took it, you understand? My farm's gone."

Those words were spoken by a luckless grower in The River, one of a recent spate of Hollywood movies about hard times on the farm. But while those down- home films, which also include Country and Places in the Heart, are fiction, the dramas they depict are painfully true to life. Mired in perhaps the deepest farm slump since the Great Depression, American families are being driven from their land in growing numbers at a time when much of the rest of the U.S. is enjoying prosperity. Some 20,000...

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