Early in the story we see that George and Mabel are looking to buy a few acres of a 160 acre farm that is for sale. They are looking to make a "life" for themselves and their family on this small acreage while Marvin is looking to purchase the whole 160 acre farm to add to the 3,000 acres he has already amassed. It is obvious that Marvin is looking to "increase his living" while George and Mabel are more interested in "living from" their land. Marvin looks at his acreage simply as a way to make more money, George and Mabel look at their acreage as a way to derive their daily sustenance and make a life for themselves and their children.
As we move through the story we see that Marvin thinks that George and Mabel (and others like them) are "dingy-dongy idiots" that are "all gonna starve someday" because they don't plant corn and soybeans like all the other high-powered agibusinessmen. George has swallowed the line that it is America's responsibility "to feed the world" (and of course the only way that can be done is if everybody and their brother grows corn and soybeans for the commodity markets). Marvin seems to have forgotten that the world did just fine feeding itself before agribusiness men like himself and industrial agriculture came down the pike a little over 50 years ago. While Marvin focuses on "feeding the world" he and his family drive to the grocery store and purchase every single bite of food they put into their mouths three time a day even though he owns and "farms" more than 3,000 acres of land. On the other hand George and Mabel focus on feeding their family (and friends and neighbors with surpluses)
from the small gardens, orchards and fields that surround them.
Toward the end of the story we see how Marvin is absolutely dumb-founded at the low cost, simplicity and practicality of cattle grazing in their natural setting as nature intended. Instead, like all agribusinessmen, he thinks that it is more "efficient" to bunch hundreds and thousands of cattle together on concrete in poop a foot deep. When cattle are "confined" the feed must be brought to the cattle instead of taking the cattle to the feed (free grass). Now stop and think about all the expense of bringing the feed to the cattle - hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of farm machinery to till, plant, fertilize and chemicals to spray. At harvest - many more thousands of dollars for harvesting equipment and labor. Then many more thousands of dollars for manure management. The bottom line is that when cattle (and hogs and sheep and chickens) are raised on pasture as nature intended the costs drop dramatically and the health of the animal and the finished product rises exponentially. I'm always amazed at what kind of problems we get ourselves into when we try and "improve" on something that God has alreay designed.
Thanks again for stopping by friends.