Ph.D. student John Byczynski published “My Father’s Past, My Children’s Future: Agrarian Identity and a Powerline in Minnesota, 1974-1980,” in Agricultural History 88:3 (Summer 2014), 313-335.
The article discusses the motivations and actions of farmers who protested against the construction of a high voltage powerline in Minnesota between 1974 and 1980. A deeply rooted agrarian identity fostered a sense of injustice over the construction of the powerline, and early victories allowed for sustained commitment despite numerous setbacks. This movement was not about promoting social change; rather, it was about protecting perceived traditions, which were at the core of the popular ideology the farmers embraced. Farmers were morally outraged when they sensed that their traditions and values were threatened by the powerline and justified their unlawful activities in a vain attempt to stop its construction.