What I Have Learned From Photographing 400 Towns in Iowa
Cody Weber

This is a very well written portrayal of the struggles of rural America.

Any portrayal of small t0wn rural America should also include a discussion about how farming has changed over the past 50 years. Many small midwestern towns prospered by supporting the hundreds of surrounding family farms — grocery stores, grain elevators, restaurants, etc. all filled a need of nearby population. As farms grew in size and technological sophistication, the number of farms decreased, and the need for these businesses decreased too. The rise of the truck and automobile also made it easier to drive to the next biggest town. While a small town in 1950 was surrounded by 50 farms, the same small town today might be surrounded by 5 working farms. That has been a hit to rural towns.

On the flip side, globalization has been good for America’s farmers. The rise of the middle class in other nations has bolstered their need for high quality food products from the US.

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