Portfolio: Farm Life

Farm Life

This is the life that city people often have in mind when they dream of farming. But farming is not a life of ease. It means long hours, hard work, little cash, and not much time for play.

People Who Farm

Farmer and Wife

An Iowa farmer and his wife figure up the balance for the year.

Seed Corn

Here’s a man who gets his seed corn into the ground on time.

Picking Berries

When the berries are ripe, women and children must help pick.


These Negro farmers learn the importance of soil conservation.


Sharecroppers work the land and divide the crop with the owner.

Farm hand

Dakota farm hand.

Olive grower

California olive grower.


Maine farmer.


Wyoming ranchers watch their stock being loaded for shipment to Midwest feed lots. There the cattle will be “finished,” that is, fattened up on corn before they go on to the packing house.

What They Raise

Here is a sea of wheat, part of a 6,000-acre ranch in the state of Washington. With such enormous fields, farm machinery not only can be, but has to be, used on a large scale to be efficient.

Truck farm

New Jersey truck farms grow tons of vegetables for New York City.


Milk of these Nebraska cows is sold through a cooperative dairy.

White Leghorns

White Leghorns “line up” for chow on an Arizona chicken farm.


Acres and acres of cabbages to eat with corned you-know-what.


Cotton fresh off the bush.


Pigs is pigs-and bacon.


Avocados, like other orchard crops, need many hands at harvest.

The Farms They Till

Rich land, poor land, black loam and red clay, the far-rolling prairies and the Bullied hillsides, the wet lowlands and the fertile desert-these and many other kinds of land our farmers till. Much of their success depends on the quality of the land.


Winters are cold in New England and the northern tier of states.

Dry southwestern sunshine

Dry southwestern sunshine turns these spacious hills to brown.

Small farming

Small farming affords independent living in the Middle South.

Big barns

Big barns dominate the landscape of the Wisconsin dairy land.


Pastures in the South are green nearly the whole year round.

Garden plot

A California garden plot on a government resettlement project.

The Hazards They Face

“Oh Lord, please send us rain!” Drought and dust and burned-out crops are but a few of the innumerable and unforeseeable hazards. Farming is a constant battle against the elements.


In case of fire about all you can do is to stand and watch it.


A twister in the sky means flattened crops and farm buildings.


Ever since Noah built his Ark, farmers have suffered in floods.


Good prices in one season may not last until the next season.


The grasshoppers have come to this cornfield, feasted, and gone.

No rain

No rain, no forage, starving cattle, nothing to do but shoot.

How They Live

Consolidated schools and high schools, to which farm children come by bus from miles around, are rapidly taking the place of the old-time, one-room, one-teacher country school building.

Barn dance

Everybody swings his partner at the Saturday night barn dance.


Where cattle is king the annual auctions are the big events.

Town meeting

In some communities the town meeting still functions as usual.


Everyone dresses in his or her store-bought clothes for church.

Sunday school picnic

The Sunday school picnic is sure to draw a big and jolly crowd.

A wealth of agencies are ready to help those who go into farming. The county agent is usually the nearest, and he can be called upon as the occasion demands. The agricultural college and the agricultural experiment station of the state place scientific knowledge at the disposal of the farmer upon his application. Finally, the United States Department of Agriculture publishes a great variety of material on every conceivable phase of agriculture. Any farmer may obtain it merely for the asking.

From EM 35: Shall I Take Up Farming? (1945)