In 1979, the American Agricultural Movement led 6,000 farmers and their tractors into Washington, D.C. to lobby for changes in US farm policies. What where the conditions and realities for farming and rural culture in America at the time? When did agriculture become agribusiness and what part did genetic engineering play? With renewed interest in local and organic, is the resurgence of family farming a possibility domestically while US farm policy continues to expand influence overseas?
Photo by Viera Levitt
Robert Swanson was the State Executive Director for the Rhode Island State Farm Service Agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Farm Service Agency as charged by its constituents and Congress functions to serve America’s farmers and ranchers to strengthen and support American agriculture.
Anna Lappe is a bestselling author, public speaker, television host, and activist. She is best known for her work on food politics, sustainable agriculture, and social change. Alongside her mother she leads a collaborative network for research and education, administering the Small Planet Fund for democratic social movements worldwide. She has been widely published in The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times among others and is an active board member of the Community Food Security Coalition and the Center for Media and Democracy.
Senator Sue Sosnowski has served the Rhode Island State Senate and her constituents since first elected in 1996. She has also served on numerous councils and committee’s for the support and advocacy of farming and environmental preservation, such as the Rhode Island Deptartment of Environmental Management, Coastal Resources Management Council, and the Rhode Island Northeast Organic Farming Association among others. In addition she has co-owned and operated Sosnowski’s farms since 1984.
Larry Metlack is currently the President of American Agriculture Movement, Inc. (AAM) and participated in the 1979 tractorcade as a member of the AAM. The American Agriculture Movement, Inc. was born in 1977 in response to congressional action deemed destructive to American farmers. Today the organization still advocates for farmer representation and equity.