John Kenneth Galbraith
In my early life I escaped the oft-described civility and less celebrated labor of a family farm into agricultural economics. I was concerned with agricultural policy; it produced one of my more notable comments from John F. Kennedy when he was president or a presidential candidate. It was, "I don't want to hear about agricultural policy from anybody but you, Ken, and I don't want to hear about it from you either." I was, thereafter, more reticent on this subject, but Kennedy did not escape. The continuing problem of the small or mid-size farm and its survival in a world of great corporate enterprises continued. It could not be wished away and the principal source of recommendation and guidance came through Kennedy's Secretary of Agriculture, the former Minnesota Governor Orville Freeman, and ultimately from Willard Cochrane. This was not his first guidance; nor was it his last. No one else in the last thirty or forty years has been so intelligently influential. And as so often in agricultural matters, this is history that has been sadly neglected. This book fills the large gap. Richard Levins has told of the life and public career of Willard Cochrane, also his academic life, but he has done much more. He has given a vivid account of the context in which Willard Cochrane's thought and policy were relevant. Particular attention is given to the big corporations which surround and invade the farm scene and which, with their greater market power, are the problem of the traditional farmer. All of this is done with care and in good, clear English. I have the greatest pleasure in giving the book a strong recommendation.