Life on the Land
A year on the farm
Last February [February, 1985], photogapher Joe Rossi approached his editors at the Pioneer Press and Dispatch with an idea for a major project that he felt would give readers a better understanding of what it's like to be a farmer.
Rossi proposed that we chronicle one farm family's year, following the family from planting to harvest, working side by side in the fields and sharing its frustrations, fears, joys, and successes.
We called our project "Life on the Land: An American Farm Family," and we chose the Benson family of Bigelow, in southwestern Minnesota. Theirs is a farm in transition, passing from the hands of one generation to another, with yet a third generation learning the skills of its elders.
In preparing their previous four reports [May 12 to October 20] and this special section [December 8], Rossi and reporter John Camp found the Bensons to be articulate about the farm affairs, their personal lives and their relationship to the land. Rossi and Camp also found them willing to accept an uncommon degree of observation and scrutiny, and for that we thank them deeply.