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An ISU professor chronicles the family and community impact of the 1980s Farm Crisis in 'When A Dream Dies'

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

You can still see the effects of the farm crisis when you drive through Iowa's countryside or small towns, and many changes aren’t as easy to see. Decades after the crisis, it’s even harder to understand the human toll the crisis took — the stress, shame, depression, violence, broken families and legacies lost.

Iowa State University Distinguished Professor of History Pamela Riney-Kehrberg paints the whole picture in her latest book, When A Dream Dies: Agriculture, Iowa, and the Farm Crisis of the 1980s.

In this encore edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe looks back at this fraught time and its socio-economic impact with Riney-Kehrberg and hears personal stories about the period.

This episode was originally produced on Nov. 22, 2022.


  • Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, author and distinguished professor of history, Iowa State University
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.