Seeds Of Recovery in the Farmbelt

U.S. agriculture is healthier but still too reliant on federal aid

For the first time in several years, Minnesota Farmer Alan Larsen had reason to be truly thankful on Thanksgiving. As members of his family sat down to a holiday feast last week, they could take some pride and satisfaction in this year's harvest. The 700 acres of corn and soybeans surrounding the Larsen homestead near Heron Lake (pop. 783) yielded a bountiful crop, and 700 head of cattle sold for good prices. Larsen's earnings are up, his indebtedness down. ! "Two years ago I was badly stressed," recalls Larsen, 31. "Now things look a lot better."

The same can be said...