Capturing the Architecture of American Agriculture—and a Passing Way of Life

For 45 Years, David Hanks Has Photographed Feed Mills in Every Season and Mood

“Why would anyone want to take pictures of a place like this?”

That’s the question I often get when I enter the office of a feed mill or grain elevator, asking permission to make photographs on the property or inside the buildings.

Showing other photos that I’ve taken usually satisfies the operator that I’m not working for the local tax assessor or real estate agent, and I receive permission to proceed.

But it’s a good question: Why do I keep up with this activity? What is the motivation? There is …

More In: rural

Want to Preserve American Small Towns? Embrace Immigrants.

From New York to Iowa, Foreign-Born Residents and Their Families Are Helping to Reinvigorate Rural Communities

Once upon a time the pulse of America beat in its small towns. They were where you took your crops to market, met the trains that brought visits from Aunt …

How the Politics of Resentment Corrupted Wisconsin’s Culture of Nice

Savvy Candidates Spent the Last Decade Pitting Rural Voters Against City Folks

The April 5 presidential primaries in Wisconsin are expected to be close in both parties, and critical to deciding the Republican contest between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. And the …

California on My Mind in the Shadow of the Great Wall

The Ballad of a Man Who Put Down Roots in a Chinese Village and Rediscovered the Hardscrabble California He Had Left

If my life so far could be said to have one truly transformative moment, I think it was the intense meeting in early spring 2006 in the village hall after …

More Poultry, More Problems

Christopher Leonard Says Your Chicken McNuggets Are Bankrupting Rural America

Waldron, Arkansas is in the middle of nowhere. But because it’s home to a Tyson Foods poultry plant that processes 1 million birds a week, it’s also ground zero for …

Why Farmworkers Get Raped

We'll Have Impunity In the Fields Until We See the People In Them As Fellow Human Beings

Recent Congressional hearings have focused much-needed attention on the problem of sexual assault against women in the U.S. armed forces. San Diegans are demanding that their mayor resign because of sexual …