Recommendations for Ag Book Club?

Rincker Law Ag Book Club, Food & Ag Pubs 5 Comments

As noted in this blog, I am starting an Ag Book Club where there will be an online discussion on book criticizing modern agriculture.  In around mid-December there will be a discussion on Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma (tentative date and time is Wednesday, December 9th at 8pm ET).  (As a reminder, you can join the faceboook group here).   I read this article a few days ago about the new book by Jonathan Safran Foer discussing animal agriculture and it go me thinking about whether it should be included on the “bookshelf” for the Ag Book Club.  Do you have any thoughts on interesting books discussing modern agriculture practices (from either side of the argument)?

I asked my “ag tweeps” on twitter this week what books they recommended.  I got the following responses:

– @Willi568 just ordered Eating Animals and Righteous Porkchop (she also wants to read Beef);

– @DannymJohnson wants to read Fast Food Nation;

– Though not focused on agriculture, @AndyVance is currently reading SuperFreakonomics and is really enjoying it;

– @AgriLawyer really enjoyed the book The Worst Hard Time, although it does not directly discuss modern agriculture;

– @EllenVictor votes for a book by or about Dr. Temple Grandin, a renown animal behaviorist;

– @WriteNowBiz loves the idea of discussing The Unsettling of America:  Culture & Agriculture and All Flesh Is Grass:  Pleasures and Promises of Pasture Farming;

– @OliverRanch recommends Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal;

– @IowaMyHome really enjoyed Man Who Fed the Word; and

– @Nel1Jack recommends discussing Getting By, Lessons From A Rural Past (an e-book by @WriteNowBiz).

In addition to this great list, I have already read Mad Cowboy and Beyond Beef:  The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture but wouldn’t mind discussing these books with a group as well.  Also, I have many other books on my bookshelf that I haven’t read through yet including Animal Liberation, Mad Sheep, The Case For Animal Rights, Animals and Ethics, Dominion, and Cadillac Dessert.  I would also like to read Pollan’s In Defense of Food and Michael Conn’s Animal Research War.

Any other book recommendations?  The plan is to talk about Omnivore’s Dilemma mid-December and talk about another book around mid-to-late January (holidays..).

Why is it important for farmers, ranchers and agribusiness men and women to read these books?  After all, these books criticize and question what you do every day of your lives.  The answer is simple.  Because these books are affecting our culture and how Americans thinks about the agriculture industry.  If farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses can’t understand what the American consumer is reading, thinking and believing, then how can we effectively communicate that our food and fiber system is safe, healthy, sustainable and ethical?  The agriculture industry needs to restore trust in the American public.  In order to effectively address concerns, the agriculture industry needs to understand the misrepresentations and arguments being made in mainstream media.

One of the comments on my previous post, suggested that books putting modern agriculture in a positive light should also be shared and discussed.  I think this is a great idea and I am thankful to Caleb Shultz for this suggestion.  As an example of a book that shared both the positives and negatives of agriculture, he suggested Deeply Rooted:  The Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness.  I also welcome other suggestions that put a positive spin on this industry that we all love.

As a reminder, the ag book club is open to people of all viewpoints and backgrounds.  I am still looking for an online chat room for several people.  Does anybody have suggestions?

Share this Article

Comments 5

  1. I’ve read Fast Food Nation. It deals with not the farmers in general but with the unsafe slaughter houses and factories and fast food restaurants that bring the products to the american consumer. The meat and other products are no longer handled by qualified personnel. Cheaper personnel = more profits for the middle man = unsafe eating. I wish every american would read that book to get a clearer understanding what happens to our products when they leave the farms. It’s sad. I grew up on farm raising and selling product. Our meat was home grown. We never got sick from any of it. No chemicals added. It’s sad to think our hard working farmers have to take the blame for the mishandling of our meats and product. I buy from local farmers. BUY AMERICAN.

  2. Didn’t realize you only wanted books that were “against” “modern” ag. Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal isn’t about that, it’s more critical of regulations the restrict a farmer’s ability to farm and run that farm as a business. Soil, Grass, and Cancer by Voisin would be a good choice.

  3. Pingback: Discussion on Omnivore’s Dilemma Next Wednesday on Google Wave | Food and Agriculture Law Blog

  4. Pingback: Celebrating One Year of Blogging About Food and Agriculture Law | Food and Agriculture Law Blog

  5. Pingback: Next on the Bookshelf: Animal Factory | Food and Agriculture Law Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *