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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ghost of the Family Farm

Novelist Jerry Apps on rural life in transition

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Jerry Apps
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Over the years farming has transitioned from operating primarily as a family business to the proliferation of large agri-farms, a switch hard felt in many small towns across the American Midwest. Author Jerry Apps’ timely new work of fiction, Tamarack River Ghost, looks at what happens when a mega hog farm sets up shop in the middle of a small town family farming community. News reporter Josh Wittmore believes he has the story of the year when he is sent by his editor to work undercover and investigate a huge feedlot operation. But after he returns to the office, he realizes that the story has followed him home to Ames County when he learns that Nathan West Industries is planning to build a facility that will house upwards of 75,000 hogs a year.

Meanwhile, the Farm Country News where Josh works is transitioning into an all-electronic publication, and the late log roller Mortimer Dunn, who died in 1900, is believed by local residents to still be looking for his grave. Tamarack River Ghost is an enjoyable and rich tale that examines farm life in transition in the 21st century.

Apps is a professor emeritus at UW-Madison and a former agricultural extension agent. He received the 2010 Distinguished Service Award from UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Jerry Apps will speak at Shorewood Public Library on Saturday, April 6, at 10:30 a.m.

 

Book Happenings

As a part of UW-Milwaukee’s Boudreaux Poetry Series, the campus will host poet Arthur Sze, Thursday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the UW-Milwaukee Hefter Center. Educated at the University of California-Berkeley and author of nine books of poetry, Sze is the first poet laureate of Santa Fe as well as a celebrated translator of Chinese.

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