Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 13, No. 2, 2003. Copyright © 2003 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


This slim volume combines two compelling stories: a personal and touching introduction to Willard Cochrane, the man and the professional agricultural economist; and a thoughtful analysis of the politics and industrial intrigue that shaped American farm policy during the past eight decades. The theme that ties them together is the independent family farm in America. This double-faceted story puts a human face on a critical dilemma that has confronted America since the time of Thomas Jefferson: Americans have always embraced the family farm, but conversely they have never been able to create an enduring environment in which family farmers could thrive.