Beth Hoffman was living the good life: she had a successful career as a journalist and professor, a comfortable home in San Francisco, and plenty of close friends and family. Yet in her late forties, she and her husband decided to leave the big city and move to his family ranch in Iowa—all for the dream of becoming a farmer. There was just one problem: money.
Half of America's two million farms made less than $300 in 2019. Between rising land costs, ever-more expensive equipment, the growing uncertainty of the climate, and few options for health care, farming today is a risky business. For many, simply staying afloat is a constant struggle.
Bet the Farm chronicles this struggle through Beth's eyes as a beginning farmer. She must contend with her father-in-law, who is reluctant to hand over control of the land. Growing oats is good for the environment but ends up being very bad for the wallet. The couple also must balance the books, hoping that farming isn't a romantic fantasy that takes every cent of their savings.
Bet the Farm is a first-hand account of the perils of farming today and a personal exploration of more just and sustainable ways of producing food.
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