R. Douglas Hurt's brief history of American agriculture, from the prehistoric period through the twentieth century, is written for anyone coming to this subject for the first time. It also provides a ready reference to the economic, social, political, scientific, and technological changes that have most affected farming in America. American Agriculture is a story of considerable achievement and success, but it is also a story of greed, racism, and violence. Hurt offers a provocative look at a history that has been shaped by the best and worst of human nature. Here is the background essential for understanding the complexity of American agricultural history, from the transition to commercial agriculture during the colonial period to the failure of government policy following World War II. Hurt includes the contributions of African Americans, Native Americans, and women. This revised edition closes with an examination of the troubled landscape at the turn of the twenty-first century. This survey will serve as a text for courses in the history of American agriculture and rural studies as well as a supplementary text for economic history and rural sociology courses. It is illustrated with maps, drawings, and over seventy splendid photographs.
The Arguments of Agriculture presents the major issues, questions, and conflicting opinions of influential policymakers and critics concerning the role and future of modern agriculture. The author urges the reader to weight and consider all positions and supplies a primer in the basic arguments of agriculture. Each chapter begins with a series of hypothetical cases that illustrate the range of theoretical issues discussed in the chapter. The next section analyzes the basic issues, and the section entitled "Review" summarizes and contrasts the opinions of a number of prominent critics. Each chapter concludes with a list of recommended readings.
Imagine Indiana's farms at the turn of the last century. What comes from the land sustains us. Our farms and families depend on it. Having a good or bad year can mean the difference between prosperity and your family going hungry. Farmers knew how to provide. Throughout the 1800s, parents had passed their best knowledge on to their sons and daughters, who in turn taught their children tried-and-true methods for managing a farm—methods that provided consistency in a world of droughts, disease, and fluctuating markets. Before they abandoned a hundred years of proven practices or adopted new technology, they would have to be convinced that it was in their best interest. Enter county extension agents. Indiana county extension agents took up their posts in 1912, at a crucial juncture in the advancement of agriculture. The systematic introduction of hybrid seed corn, tractors, lime, certified seed, cow-testing associations, farm bureaus, commercial fertilizers, balanced livestock diets, soybeans, and 4-H clubs were all yet to come. Many of the most significant agricultural innovations of the 1900s, which are commonplace today, were still being developed in the laboratories and experimental fields of land-grant colleges like Purdue University. Compiled from original county agent records discovered in Purdue University’s Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center, Enriching Hoosier Farms and Families includes hundreds of rare, never-before-published photographs and anecdotal information about how county agents overcame their constituents’ reluctance to change. They visited farmers on their farms, day after day, year after year. They got to know them personally. They built trust in communities and little by little were able to share new information. Gradually, their practical applications of new methodologies for solving old problems and for managing and increasing productivity introduced farmers and their families to exciting new frontiers of agriculture.
The key role that farming plays in the economy of Indiana today owes much to the work of John Harrison Skinner (1874–1942). Skinner was a pioneering educator and administrator who transformed the study of agriculture at Purdue University during the first decades of the twentieth century. From humble origins, occupying one building and 150 acres at the start of his career, the agriculture program grew to spread over ten buildings and 1,000 acres by the end of his tenure as its first dean. A focused, single-minded man, Skinner understood from his own background as a grain and stock farmer that growers could no longer rely on traditional methods in adapting to a rapidly changing technological and economic environment, in which tractors were replacing horses and new crops such as alfalfa and soy were transforming the arable landscape. Farmers needed education, and only by hiring the best and brightest faculty could Purdue give them the competitive edge that they needed. While he excelled as a manager and advocate for Indiana agriculture, Skinner never lost touch with his own farming roots, taking especial interest in animal husbandry. During the course of his career as dean (1907–1939), the number of livestock on Purdue farms increased fourfold, and Skinner showed his knowledge of breeding by winning many times at the International Livestock Exposition. Today, the scale of Purdue’s College of Agriculture has increased to offer almost fifty programs to hundreds of students from all over the globe. However, at its base, the agricultural program in place today remains largely as John Harrison Skinner built it, responsive to Indiana but with its focus always on scientific innovation in the larger world.
What do beer-swilling swine, predator-friendly sheep, and David Letterman have in common? They are all part of agriculture's first evolution in 10,000 years. As population growth levels off, production yields continue to grow and demands on agriculture change, the focus of agriculture is moving from just feeding a growing planet to feeding a planet with environmental concerns. Eco-entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the new business opportunities arising from these changes. Applying solutions from the creative to the mundane, they are greening both their pocketbooks and the vistas around them.In The Ecological Agrarian, J. Bishop Grewell and Clay Landry share stories of the numerous eco-entrepreneurs at work, the challenges they face, and the benefits they hope to reap. Beginning in 8500 B.C., Grewell and Landry provide a brief overview of how agriculture not only shaped history, but made written history and civilization even possible. From there, they explain how we are entering an unprecedented era where the race to feed the planet is no longer the lone driving force behind agriculture. That battle, they argue, has largely been won.A new age of agriculture presents new challenges and opportunities. Grewell and Landry document agriculture's response and then draw conclusions from successes and failures to determine what institutions best foster the entrepreneurs trailblazing agriculture's future.
An Ecological History of Agriculture, 10,000 B.C.-A.D. 10,000 opens with the first known agriculture and ends in a future in which we might have to use fewer resources to feed more people. The book describes past and present agriculture and looks at future possibilities. Using environment, population, and available energy sources as the principal determinants of agricultural systems, this is the first survey to cover preindustrial agriculture and pastoralism on all inhabited continents and from equatorial forest to tundra. The tropics present a tapestry: slash-and-burn in the forests, multistoried gardens of trees and annuals, combinations of cultivation and nomadic pastoralism, and a variety of "wet" systems on land that is part field and part swamp. The parallels among dry lands and dry summer lands are striking; peoples thousands of miles apart evolve like means to divert, deliver, and conserve water. In humid temperate climes there is more divergence than convergence; East Asians, Europeans, and American Indians find very different ways to exploit similar environments. An Ecological History of Agriculture, 10,000 B.C.-A.D. 10,000 will be of special interest to agriculturalists, agricultural historians, anthropologists, geographers, and anyone concerned with agriculture and its history.
The Harvest Story depicts the life of rural American threshermen. This collection of first-person narratives chronicles the eyewitness accounts of people who threshed grain with steam engines. The book selects anecdotes from over 50 volumes of material published in The Iron-Men Album Magazine and arranges them in a coherent recitation. The result is a story of hard, honest work, of heartfelt cooperation and of triumph not unmarred by tragedy. Readers hear the recollections of those who pitched the bundles of grain onto the horse-drawn wagons, unloaded these bundles into the threshing machine and saw the stream of clean wheat cascade from the grain auger. Readers encounter the wit and humor that characterized yesteryear's harvests. They learn about the vast industries that supported the agricultural enterprise, and they discover the dangers posed by mechanical equipment. The Harvest Story concludes by examining the birth and development of a movement to rescue the agrarian past from oblivion. This book captures authentic voices from the era of steam-powered threshing and offers readable interpretation and explanation, including detailed appendices.
These essays were prepared for a conference held in Tallinn, Ethiopia, under the auspices of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the International Research and Exchanges Board.
Examines the economic development of the United States from colonial times through the mid-Twentieth Century and uses elementary economic analysis as a tool for illuminating historical events and their economic origins and consequences. It will consider how the economy has grown over time as well as how and why the structure of the American economy has changed over time. Throughout American economic history various public and private policies have at times been successful and at other times failed. Accordingly the prevailing theme of economic history can be expressed as the idea that any particular policy is not destined to succeed or fail but rather that there are always viable choices. Indeed, economic history is a record of those choices and their effects. The aim of this course is not to provide you with conventional and one-dimensional interpretations but rather to offer you alternative economic views of historical events. Ideally this course will help you understand and apply economic analysis to historical events as well as to ascertain probable implications for current and future policies.