Hightower, Jim. Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times
The basis of land grant teaching, research, and extension work has been that “efficiency” is the greatest need in agriculture. Consequently, this agricultural complex has devoted the overwhelming share of its resources to mechanize all aspects of agricultural production and make it a capital-intensive industry; to increase crop yield per acre through genetic manipulation and chemical application; and to encourage “economies of scale” and vertical integration of the food process. It generally has aimed at transforming agriculture form a way of life generally has aimed at transforming agriculture from a way of lie to a business and a science, transferring effective control from the farmer to the business executive and the systems analyst.
On the one hand, this focus on scientific and business efficiency has led to production (and over-production) of a bounty of food and fiber products, and, not incidentally, it certainly has contributed to the enrichment of an agribusiness few.
On the other hand, there have been far-reaching side effects of the land grant college’s preoccupation with the “green revolution.” As statistics indicate, and as visits to the countryside make clear, rural America is crumbling. Not just the family farm, but every aspect of rural America is crumbling— schools, communities, churches, businesses and way of life.