Introducing: The Only Thing That Lasts

Photo of Sarah Mock

By Sarah Mock

Dec 21, 2023

Uncovering the mysteries of American farmland.

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Sarah Mock: They say there’s only one thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, and worth dying for. It’s not love or money, not vengeance or virtue. It’s land.

Here in the US, we have a particularly long history of working and fighting for land, though the way we do it — and think about it — has changed somewhat over the years.

Bruce Sherrick:  If my highest and best use for the land I own is to develop a subdivision, and there’s a really strong demand for housing and the people who say: “We need more houses. We need more houses. We need more affordable houses.” and I’m building some low cost condos on the edge of the property that are going to be great for people who are just breaking into the housing market. One group is going to say that’s fantastic. And another group is going to say you’re ruining our farmland.

SM: So we fight — because even though there is a lot of farmland in the US, there’s not infinite farmland. And every day a little bit disappears, beneath houses, roads, and strip malls, even beneath the ocean. And despite the US’s huge landmass and our comparatively low population, space on the land is hard for the average person to acquire, which can impact everything from housing access to what’s available at your local market. So one group says “that’s fantastic” to the new subdivision. And another group says “you’re ruining our farmland.”

The reality is, everything from retirement accounts and insurance policies to the quality of local public schools and your favorite beaches are often entwined with the current and future state of US farmland. Not to mention that going forward, we’re making big bets that farmland can help save us from climate change by sinking carbon in soils without putting our national food security at risk.

So to understand how the existence, value, costs and benefits of our agricultural lands affects us all, join me, ag journalist Sarah Mock, for a journey into America’s mysterious farm landscape. Along the way, we’ll unpack the memory and emotion that are wrapped up in the land around us, and understand why our countryside is such an enduring source of myth and motivation, to work, to fight, and even to die for.

The Only Thing That Lasts, an Ambrook Research production, coming this Winter wherever you listen to podcasts.


The Only Thing That Lasts is an Ambrook Research production. This podcast is written, produced, and mixed by me, Sarah Mock. Our editor is Jesse Hirsch, with support by Ali Aas and Bijan Stephen. Technical Support by Dan Schlosser, and general support by Mackenzie Burnett and the whole team at Ambrook.

A final note, Ambrook Research, the media outlet that produced this podcast, is 100% editorially independent from Ambrook, the fintech company that funds it.


Photo of Sarah Mock

Sarah Mock

Sarah K Mock is a freelance agriculture writer, podcaster, and author of Big Team Farms and Farm (and Other F Words).

Illustrative image of a person looking out a window at a field

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