Introducing the Farmers

The authentic voices of farmers and ranchers across America have been uncovered by Cynthia Vagnetti and are the basis for the collection of oral history, black-and-white photography, and contextual video titled Voices from the Field.

Each person represented in the pictures and stories of Vagnetti's collection embodies a transformative story that is a model for shaping the future of agriculture. Vagnetti found that the stories of farm families informed her shooting script and picture-taking process. From the stories, she has been able to reveal a farmers' past, thus providing a historical context to each individuals present understanding of their role in sustainable agriculture.

The Risdall Family

The Risdall Family, Roland, Iowa - Story County. Photo by Cynthia Vagnetti from People Sustaining the Land, 2002.

"Somebody has to go into farming. Somebody has to do it, it's a good life. It takes a lot of money these days to get going. It is not a get-rich scheme but the lifestyle is great. There gets to be too many people owning to much farm. Doctors and lawyers have the money to buy land and they hire somebody to farm it. We need family farms; more people need to own the land. I guess I would rather see 10 people own a little bit than one person own a lot. We need more voices in agriculture."

FFC Logo

"Agriculture has not tended to its workers very well in the past. We try to take care of our employees on this ranch with housing, a retirement fund, coverage of medical expenses and that sort of thing. Any business should look to its' workers probably first, even ahead of its' shareholders, because if you look to your workers, then the business is going to be successful."

Seasonal farm worker on the Williamson family farm, Okeechobee, Florida - Okeechobee County from People Sustaining the Land, 2002 by Cynthia Vagnetti.