With very few people engaged in agriculture today, it is no surprise that most Americans have little understanding of the challenges that modern farmers face. This book provides readers a glimpse into life on a modern Missouri farm where a variety of grains, grass seed, corn, and cattle are produced. All of the conversations, events, and descriptions are drawn from the author’s experience working alongside and observing this father and son family farm operation during the course of a year.
Farming today is technologically complex and requires a broad set of skills that range from soil conservation, animal husbandry, and mechanics to knowledge of financial markets and computer technology. The focus on skills, in addition to the size of the financial risks, and the number of unexpected challenges along the way provides readers with a new perspective and appreciation for modern farm life.
About the Author
Steven L. Hilty is aResearch Associate at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute. He is the author of three books, most recently Birds of Tropical America: A Watcher's Introduction to Behavior, Breeding, and Diversity.
“While emphasizing the complexities of modern farming, he explains its methods and practices in a way that the uninitiated can easily understand.”—Missouri Historical Review
“Edifying, intriguing, and candid about the immense array of demands placed on a modern working farm, as well as the many hats that a farmer has to wear to keep things running. Highly recommended.”—Midwest Book Review
“With only one or two percent of us knowing much about this life in any detail, Hilty’s work is a service and a gift.”—David Hamilton, Professor Emeritus of English, University of Iowa, author of Deep River: A Memoir of a Missouri Farm
“The great strengths of this book are the author’s knowledge and understanding of rural life, including the weather, land, animals, technology, and people of the Midwest. There is a remarkable attention to detail”—Bonnie Stepenoff, Professor Emerita of History, Southeast Missouri State University, author of Big Spring Autumn