Opponents of modern-day agriculture callously throw around the term "giant agribusinesses" to conjure up images of faceless factories mass-producing crops. Truth is, large corporations aren't very involved in farming because the risks are high and the returns are low. Families working land they've occupied for decades produce the vast majority of the country's food.

The farmers highlighted below are the same men and women who have been tarred and feathered as "corporate moguls" by many.

Women farmers, America's sweethearts
The road to farming—if you're a woman—is often through the home or the heart. For Ardis Hammock, 55, that road began when she fell in love with a farmer, married him and became a farmer herself. Today, Hammock is vice president of the 700-acre Frierson Farms in Clewiston, Florida. We might not think of the Sunshine State as farm country, but it's the biggest sugarcane producer and top citrus grower in the United States.
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Bridging the Gap: Women in Agriculture
Lori Feltis said the biggest "challenge" she faced as a woman farmer was the tractor: buying one and driving it. The first time she purchased a John Deere, the salesperson was reluctant to put it in her name until he got to know her better. When it came time to operate it, she found it was a little too much machinery for her 5'2" frame. But once she learned to handle it, Feltis knew she was well on her way to living a happy and productive life in agriculture.
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Farm Sweet Home
Jamie Blythe Wood of Courtland, Alabama, was to the farm manor born and inherited her knowledge and love of agriculture from a family of crop and cattle producers. 35 years later she, her sister, and their parents work the 3,500 acres of land devoted to cattle and row crops with two other employees. Wood's responsibilities are many-from managing field operations, operating farm equipment, making decisions regarding their soil fertility program, overseeing harvest and supervising a herd of cows during calving season. Not to mention endless hours of record keeping and communication with equipment dealers, a consultant, and seed and chemical company reps via phone and email.
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Farming: Pessimists Need Not Apply
"If you're not a risk taker with an incredibly optimistic view of life and a deep belief in your own potential as a businessman, then you better not think about wanting to become a farmer," says Russ Mauch, past president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association. Mauch is a second-generation farmer who grew up on a farm in Mooreton, North Dakota, with his five sisters and two brothers. He has fond memories of his early life on the farm, where, with his dad and two brothers, they ran a fed cattle operation.
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Farmers take a bite out of the Big Apple
The second media tour of 2012 had a slightly different theme than those we've done in the past. While it's always a pleasure to talk market swings and harvest outlooks with agriculture reporters, we couldn't help but feel as though a part of our message was missing. The Hand That Feeds U.S. began as a coalition of farm groups that wanted to educate urban reporters on the importance of agriculture. But as time goes on, the very definition of agriculture continues to evolve, and so does our message.
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The Faces Behind Farmers Fight
The Hand That Feeds U.S. sat down with Caroline Black and Jasmine Dillon—two students Standing Up for agriculture. Growing up on a cattle farm in Commerce, Georgia, Caroline Black knew a thing or two about agriculture—extracurricular activities for her included showing livestock and holding leadership positions in 4-H and the Future Farmers of America (FFA).
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Farmers and manufacturers join forces to bring rural America to the big city
The Hand That Feeds U.S. (THTFUS) embarked on a media tour of the Windy City this month, meeting with reporters from Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and the Financial Times, as well as WGN Radio—home of This Week in Agribusiness. Representing the group was Pamela Yoder a corn, cotton, wheat and soybean grower from Dalhart, Texas. Managing a family farm with her husband and son, Yoder is one of the 210,000 farmers holding the thin green line.
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Matt Huie: Putting A Personal Face On Our Farming Crisis
My grandparents’ children left the farm in pursuit of city jobs, but I loved everything about that life. So when I got the opportunity to move in with my grandparents at age 16, I didn’t hesitate. After college, I made the decision to become a full-time farmer. Today, I live on a ranch about a mile from my grandfather—who is still operating part of his cattle ranch at 89—and hope to be able to one day pass on the skills that he passed on to me.
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Farmer Profile: Under water but not out of business
With a population of little more than a thousand, the town of Hamburg, Iowa rarely sees any kind of national recognition. Unfortunately, that all changed this summer when the town became ground zero in one of the biggest floods this country has ever known. Due to two large breaches in the federal levee, the massive amount of water rushed through the area's first and strongest line of defense, slamming against the smaller levee in Hamburg—now referred to by one report as "a small Iowa town's only hope..."
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Farmer Profile: An American Star
By the age of eight most of us have a firm grasp on the English language, the state capitals, and the schedule of Saturday morning cartoons. By the time Jason Frerichs had turned eight, he had taken childhood a few steps further. When he was in the third grade, Jason joined 4-H—a well-known youth organization that has a strong connection with leadership development throughout rural and urban communities.
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Community Profile: A Helping Hand
On the night of May 22, 2010, a severe storm warning alerted my parents, brother, and five-year-old nephew that something was headed their way. When the howling winds began to slam against the ranch house, they made the decision to hunker down in the cellar with the jellies and vegetables, and wait it out.
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Farmer Profile: A Family Farmstay
Some of our most beloved holiday movies take place in a rural setting, away from the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping and big city lights. In the case of White Christmas, the 1954 classic, a four star general has retired from army life to run an inn in upstate Vermont. But without that famous Vermont snow, the inn suffers right along with the tourism industry.
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Farmer Profile: Hoping for a Homecoming
Though he introduced himself as an aspiring photographer, Chris Niemann's enthusiasm for all things agriculture was palpable. He first came to The Hand That Feeds U.S. seeking an opportunity to display his photographs on our website; photographs that not only reflected a love for the land, but the harvest as well, a time of year not typically favored by the average photographer.
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Profile: Mea Lewis: A Farmer's Foundation
When six-year-old Mea Lewis moved onto a cattle farm in Kentucky with her mother and little sister, she had no idea that she had also become a part of a generations-old community that reached far beyond those 300 acres. Fascinated by the vast expanse of land and various animals, Mea began helping out around the farm, at first for fun but eventually out of necessity.
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Profile: Ruth Gerdes
Ruth Gerdes has never forgotten the years when massive droughts almost cost her and her husband their farm. Realizing that her family was paying thousands of dollars for an insurance policy that wasn't working, Gerdes began her career in crop insurance at an independent agency in Auburn, Nebraska. Today, she is one of the most knowledgeable and respected agents in the United States specializing in multiple-peril crop insurance and services policies.
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Community Profile: Bowling for Sugar
All eyes will be on New Orleans this New Year's Day as the University of Cincinnati Bearcats defend their perfect season against the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. And while their beloved LSU Tigers will be nearly 650 miles away in Orlando, most people from south Louisiana will still tune in to support the Sugar Bowl and the crop it represents.
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Profile: Beth Clanton
I met many wonderful people on my journey through the West Texas farmlands, but few as remarkable as Beth Clanton. Eleven years ago, Clanton was a second grade school teacher in Seminole, Texas. Her husband was a peanut and cotton farmer, and together, they had two daughters.
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Profile: Pat Benedict
To his friends and family, Pat Benedict is a soft-spoken farmer from a small town in Minnesota. Few are even aware Benedict is an icon of modern agriculture. In 1978, he appeared on the cover of TIME magazine for an article dubbed "The New U.S. Farmer."
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Profile: Noel Shapiro
Noel Shapiro's family has seen their share of ruthless dictators. As a young boy, Noel and his family fled Poland over fears of an invasion from Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany. This came just one generation after the Shapiros left Russia when Vladimir Lenin took control.
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Profile: Terry Wanzek
An elected official, Terry Wanzek is well known and well liked around North Dakota. In fact, the state senator from Jamestown has represented the people of the 29th district since 1995—except for one interrupted term in 2005.
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Profile: Barry Evans
Barry Evans is far from a rich corporate mogul, but gets called one nearly every day by the handful of zealots who seemingly want to return to the days of mule-drawn plows.
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