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Editor’s Note

So often the term "family farm" is applied to agriculture. The implication is that such farms are similar. White similarities do exists, the differences among the farms add great texture to the meaning.

Published on March 14, 2014 8:21AM

Depending on who you talk to, the term “family farm” has many different meanings.

To some, it is a political statement and a swing at “corporate” farms and “big ag.” This is in spite of the fact that the vast majority of farms, large and small, are family-owned and -operated. And most are incorporated.

To others, a family farm is stereotyped pastoral setting locked in time, away from the worries of modern life.

In reality, all family farms are different. Some similarities do exist, but no two are exactly the same.

In this Seed and Row Crop special section, we look at some of the family farms in our region. The sizes are vastly different, ranging from a few acres to more than 1,000. And those families depend on their farm to produce their livelihood, not as a hobby.

But the families’ histories are different. There’s the family of Japanese heritage that overcame repressive World War II-era laws to build a thriving 21st Century farm. And the family whose forefather homesteaded the land in the 19th Century. And the family that switched its primary crops to avert a coming sea change in the industry.

Together, these stories provide a much more nuanced picture of today’s family farm.


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