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The Haymakers

The Haymakers

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A Chronicle of Five Farm Families

Author Steven R. Hoffbeck

Minnesota Historical Society Press (March 1, 2002)

Spanning 150 years, Steven R. Hoffbeck’s The Haymakers tells a story of the labor and heartbreak suffered by five families in five different eras struggling to make the hay that fed their livestock, a story not just about grass, alfalfa and clover, but also about sweat and fears, toil and loss.


Winner of the Minnesota Book Award and the Red River Heritage Award!

The Haymakers

is an epic—the history of man’s struggle with nature as well as man’s struggle against machines. It relates the story of farmers and their obligations to their families, to the animals they fed, and to the land they tended. But The Haymakers is also an elegy—to a way of life fast disappearing from our landscape. In the most heartfelt essays, Hoffbeck chronicles his own family’s struggle to hold onto their family farm and his personal struggle in deciding to leave farming for another way of life.

Hoffbeck also seeks to document and preserve the commonplace methods of haymaking, information about haying that might otherwise be lost to posterity. He describes the tools and the methods of haymaking as well as the relentless demands of the farm. Using diaries, agricultural guidebooks and personal interviews, the folkways of cutting, raking, and harvesting hay have been recorded in these chapters. In the end, this book is not so much about agricultural history as it is about family history, personal history—how farm families survive, even persevere.

Author information

Steven R. Hoffbeck is an assistant professor of history at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, with a specialization in agricultural history. His articles and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including North Dakota Horizons, Vermont History, and Minnesota History, where he is a frequent contributor and winner of the Solon J. Buck Award for the year’s best essay.

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 223 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873513951

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