Miriam Horn’s “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland” (Norton, 394 pp., $27.95) could be the most important book about agriculture you’ll read this year – maybe ever.  

General readers have been misled by a parade of not-so-smart books from writers who want to change our broken food system. Armed with little more than reflexive outrage and bromides gathered from the far left, activists have decided to remake the world in their image: tranquil, vegetarian and oh-so-green.  

Horn, who herself works for the pragmatic Environmental Defense Fund, hits back, detailing with real precision the everyday things that farmers, ranchers and others do to feed us all while nurturing their fields, ranges and habitat. Best of all: Her subjects are hardly outliers, but typical of a new generation of people who work the land for the future as much as the present.

Focus on Ag column