Willoughby Hills
Willoughby Hills with Heath Racela
109. Farmer and Author Beth Hoffman on the Economics of Farming

109. Farmer and Author Beth Hoffman on the Economics of Farming


No transcript...

Welcome to another episode of the Willoughby Hills podcast!

Beth Hoffman

My guest today is author, journalist, and farmer Beth Hoffman. She grew up in suburban New Jersey and spent much of her adult life in the San Francisco area. There, she was a journalist focused on writing about food and agriculture. She was also a professor at the University of San Francisco, teaching a course about how the media discusses food.

In her late 40s, Beth and her husband John decided to return to his family farm in Iowa to work as full time farmers. From that experience was born Beth’s book Bet the Farm: The Dollars and Sense of Growing Food in America.

The book is part memoir, looking at her and John’s struggles to convert a conventional Iowa farm raising commodity crops like corn and soy beans into Whippoorwill Creek Farm, a grass finished cattle operation that also uses organic practices for raising vegetables. But the book is also a look at the economic challenges that face farmers in this country today.

Beth and I discuss not only the difficult physical tasks that come with growing food and raising meat, but also the larger systemic issues in farming including racial discrimination, influence from large agribusiness companies, and the threats posed by climate change.

It’s a far reaching and in depth conversation with somebody who has seen the agriculture and food businesses from nearly every angle in her lifetime and has a lot of knowledge to share.

You can check out Beth’s book here.

(And shoutout to Jesse Hirsch, who publishes the amazing newsletter The Haul for putting Beth on my radar.)

If you enjoy this interview, you may also like my twice-weekly email newsletter about our changing relationship to home, work, building, shopping, eating, and more. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox, plus get notified when new podcast episodes are posted:

Related Episodes:

Listening Tip:

You can stream this episode on the go using the Substack app.

Read Willoughby Hills in the Substack app
Available for iOS and Android

You can also click “Listen On” in the player at the top of this post to load this episode on your favorite podcast app, or search “Willoughby Hills” in your favorite podcast app too.