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The Farming Game

Overview

In cantankerous opinions, hard-headed advice, and free-swinging sketches of real farmers, Bryan Jones addresses everyone who feels the pull of the land. He accepts the emotional appeal of “going back to the land” and then takes the unconventional stand that, above all, farming can be a good way to make money. Against the grain of public policy that, he maintains, encourages big agriculture, Jones works out how a shrewd, stubborn small farmer can still make a go of it.

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Overview

In cantankerous opinions, hard-headed advice, and free-swinging sketches of real farmers, Bryan Jones addresses everyone who feels the pull of the land. He accepts the emotional appeal of “going back to the land” and then takes the unconventional stand that, above all, farming can be a good way to make money. Against the grain of public policy that, he maintains, encourages big agriculture, Jones works out how a shrewd, stubborn small farmer can still make a go of it.

His keen-eyed sketches of farmers at work show the variety of ways a farmer may succeed or fail. Even his own neighborhood, dominated by thousands of acres of corn and high technology, is peopled with “scalper” who makes a living in the cattle business with little more stake than a gooseneck trailer, a telephone, and his native wits; the sheep man who secretly grows rich while looking poor and raising an animal that other farmer disdain; the experimenter who never turns a nickel himself, but whose successful innovations are readily adopted by his neighbors; the hog raiser who makes a large family pay.

The heart of the book is the primer for novices—and for city folk who dream of farming. Jones emphasizes the practicalities of farm finance and recommends sidelines for the beginner—welding, giving guitar lessons, keeping the books for a local elevator—as an alternative to starving. He urges newcomers to start small and to be sure that farming is something they really want to do. To interested bystanders, The Farming Game offers one farmer’s audacious, stimulating, and entertaining view of American agriculture today.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803275829
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 246
  • Sales rank: 362,532
  • Product dimensions: 0.52 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 5.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Bryan Jones maintains strong ties to the land and teaches reading at McCook Junior High School in McCook, Nebraska. His articles have appeared in New Farm, New Land Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and other magazines. In a new afterword, he discusses the current status of “the farming game.”

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Table of Contents

Introduction 9
The Last Capitalist 15
Shaky Ed: Neatness as a Virtue 29
Big Machinery - Big Feeler 37
Farmer Grable: Frugality as a Duty 43
Organic Vertegration 49
All Cattlemen Are Crazy 55
Harry the Hog Man 65
Slumming with Sheep 73
Modern Slavery in the World of Milk 83
Crazy Billy the Fantasy Farmer 91
Sherman the Scalper 101
Why Aren't There More Irish Farmers? 111
Larry the Lip: Wheeling and Dealing 119
The Smart Boys 129
The Irrational World of Farm Finance 151
How to Beat the System 169
Will There Be Any Plowjockeys in Heaven? 213
Afterword to the Bison Book Edition 223
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