Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

October 1996


Published in Great Plains Research 6:2 (Fall 1996). Copyright © 1996 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Why should you care about agriculture? Planting the Future provides an eloquent description of the current state of this' most basic human endeavor so critical to survival. Based on a series of surveys and on-farm studies in the North Central and Western states, the book recognizes the bounty of our conventional agricultural industry. More importantly for the future, it details a series of critical problems in the environment, the distribution of economic benefits, and the social dislocation resulting from the consolidation of lands and heavy reliance on fossil fuels. Today's productivity and cheap food in the market have hidden expenses such as federal subsidies, impacts on the environment and future potential production, and declining rural communities. Dependence on agricultural chemicals and fertilizers is seen by many growers as not only expensive, but one of the fundamental causes for declines in water, soil, and food quality. Large multinational agribusiness has strong control over practices, commodities, and markets, with the majority of profits flowing directly to the food industry. Migration from farms to cities is not only causing a decline for many in their standard of living, but is also increasing poverty and homelessness. The book concludes that this situation cannot endure for the long term.