Farming, Grazing, and Hunting

  • William R. Nester


When Jefferson penned those words, nearly nine out of ten Americans raised crops and livestock and hunted for their sustenance. Two centuries later, America is no more the land of yeoman farmers that Jefferson celebrated. Farming and ranching have experienced technological and productivity revolutions, plummeting the percentage of Americans in those pursuits to less than 2 percent of the population. American agribusiness is the world’s most productive — so productive that the excess is either exported or stored in huge warehouses. Yet despite these revolutionary changes, the raising of crops and livestock has become peripheral to America’s economy, accounting for a mere 3 percent of all economic activity.


Public Land Tobacco Industry Wildlife Refuge Farm Income Price Support 
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    Unless otherwise indicated, statistics in this section come from Nancy A. Blanpied, Farm Policy: The Politics of Soil, Surpluses, and Subsidies (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1984).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© William R. Nester 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • William R. Nester
    • 1
  1. 1.St John’s UniversityNew YorkUSA

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