More than steelworkers, miners, or high-tech innovators, family farmers represent America's ideals of Jeffersonian democracy, close-knit community and attachment to the land. It is little wonder, then, that the "save the family farm" movement has such an emotional appeal for Americans.
But the number of farms and farm jobs continues to declinedespite heavy government subsidies. In 1935, there were nearly 7 million farms in the U.S. Today there are only about 2 million. Congress is once again poised to hike its financial support of the battered farm economy. But with the war on terrorism straining the federal purse, now may be an opportune time to break the industry's cycle of dependancy.