Nothing But the DirT:
a PORTRAIT OF AN AMERICAN FARM TOWN
*Book in progress*
There’s this small, farm town in Kansas. Very small. Like, 285 people small.
Courtland is rural, remote. Existing on an economy that’s totally dependent on agriculture, an industry teetering on a repeat of the 1980s farm crisis. There’s a surplus of crops. Commodity prices tanking. Soaring debt. Tariff wars. Red flags. Furrowed brows. “Disaster,” experts predict. “The death of rural America.”
Nothing but the Dirt: A Portrait of an American Farm Town explores the complexity of the farming/agriculture industry that goes beyond current political sentiments to examine the effects of a global market, how farm subsidies work, the soaring costs of operation and historically low prices of commodities including soybeans, corn, and wheat, and how Latino workers are contributing to the labor gap.
These issues are woven through the candid stories of the people who live here. The fourth-generation farmers, the young professionals, the transplants, the small business owners; a community that's nuclear, blended, straight, gay, red, blue, religious, and anything but. Different people who share the same goal: keeping Main Street open for business.
Businesses like the post office, bar and grill, and stores that sell plumbing supplies, farm implements, and antiques. There’s a local, family owned bank and a commodity broker. A community swimming pool, community garden, elementary school, two gas/service stations, an arts center, weekly newspaper, city hall, library, volunteer fire department, and a mayor.
Nothing but the Dirt is a year in the life an American farm town, the 285 residents whose existence depends on what God and the farmer put into the ground, and their determined effort to keep Courtland, Kansas from disappearing from the map.