Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2005


Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 15, No. 1, 2005. Copyright © 2005 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Farm Communities at the Crossroads is a collection of works by twenty-nine authors dealing with the "transformations in farming and farm communities." The metaphor of a "crossroads" is aptly invoked to draw attention to the complex overlay of social, economic, political, and knowledge processes affecting rural society. The two themes of "challenge" and "resistance" are central to the conceptual organization of the hook, which incorporates issues such as the changing nature of farm work, rural restructuring, community development, the farm crisis, technological change, and agricultural policy development. The volume contains twenty-six articles organized into seven sections, the first of which presents a preview of the main issues to follow. The papers included in section 2, 'The Importance of Work," address the de-skilling effects of mechanization (B. Russell), the "degradation of farm work" (H. P. Dial and R. Stirling). and the dynamic interplay or the state, science. corporate interests, and consumer markets that occasioned the development of canola (L. Busch).