No doubt the world is changing


“I will be an American farmer. American agriculture is one of the few things that still makes me proud of this country. It has not been trivialized or forsaken. It has been assaulted, slightly corrupted surely, but it nonetheless remains unparalleled throughout the world.”

— From The Road to My Farm

by Nora Janssen Seton

We are living in a changing world, of that there is no doubt.

I am still shocked, even after all these years of witnessing it, to drive down a long-established country road and discover farms I had long admired have been erased, mindlessly replaced by new homes with little character and zero landscaping of any interest.

Grand old trees were swept away in this process of mass destruction, all to make way for dozens of new homes on what had once been an American farmstead.

Deep regret

There is always this feeling of deep regret, even though most of these places are someone’s new neighborhood of which they are likely very proud.

Sometimes I find myself longing to just get a glimpse of the old barn most of all, and wonder if anyone took the time to salvage some of the barn’s grandeur. They just don’t make them like that anymore.

As the economy has taken its frightening turns of late, I can’t help but think of these new homes and these newly created communities. Foreclosures may be forced on many of these new homes as jobs are lost and equity positions bottom out.

Suddenly, what once was a productive piece of land is now a bank’s piece of paper.

Farm land prices

It has been observed farm land prices will continue to hold steady even in this tough world.

It is good news for those who held on for all they were worth and fought the urge to sell their farm land. Hanging on not only saved these folks from witnessing their homestead cut up and sold off in to building lots, but with any good fortune at all in the not-too-distant future, this land should be worth its weight in tillable ground.

Need to eat

We all need to eat. We desire good food that will provide us with health and vitality. In the toughest of times, we think about it all the more. Imagine not having even so much as a square foot of dirt to grow a vegetable or two.

As author Seton writes in her well-written book, “Agriculture has shed new light for me on mortality. Farming’s rhythm of birth and death distills the pattern of our human lives into the space of a year or two.”


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.



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