They brought in European families, with their tools, directly to the new farm, which was purchased on easy credit terms. The railroad needed settlers as much as the settlers needed farmland. Even cheaper land was available through homesteading, although it was usually not as well located as railroad land. 24 The problem of blowing dust didn't come from farmers growing too much wheat but from the rainfall being too little for growing enough wheat to keep the topsoil from blowing away. In the 1930s, techniques and technologies of soil conservation, most of which had been available but ignored before the dust Bowl conditions began, were promoted by the soil Conservation Service (SCS) of the us department of Agriculture, so that, with cooperation from the weather, soil. 25 On the Great Plains, very few single men attempted to operate a farm or ranch; farmers clearly understood the need for a hard-working wife, and numerous children, to handle the many chores, including child-rearing, feeding and clothing the family, managing the housework, feeding the. 26 During the early years of settlement in the late 19th century, farm women played an integral role in assuring family survival by working outdoors. After a generation or so, women increasingly left the fields, thus redefining their roles within the family.
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The value of farms soared from 8 billion in 1860 to 30 billion in 1906. 20 The federal government issued 160-acre (65 ha ) tracts virtually free to about 400,000 families who settled new land under the homestead Act of 1862. Even larger numbers purchased lands at very low interest help from the new railroads, which were trying to create markets. The railroads advertised heavily in Europe and brought over, at low fares, hundreds of thousands of farmers from Germany, scandinavia, and Britain. 21 The first years of the 20th century were prosperous for all American farmers. The years became a statistical benchmark, called "parity that organized farm groups wanted the government to use as a benchmark for the level of prices and profits they felt they deserved. 22 Rural life edit early settlers discovered that the Great Plains were not the "Great American Desert but they also found that the very harsh climate—with tornadoes, blizzards, drought, hail, floods, and grasshoppers 23 —made for a high risk of ruined crops. Many early settlers were financially ruined, especially in the early 1890s, and either protested through the populist movement, or went back east. In the 20th century, crop insurance, new conservation techniques, and large-scale federal aid all lowered the risk. Immigrants, especially germans, and their children comprised the largest element of settlers after 1860; they were attracted by the good soil, low-priced lands from the railroad companies. The railroads offered attractive family packages.
It is plain why the American frontier settler was on the move continually. It was, not his fear of a too close contact with the comforts and restraints of a civilized society that stirred him into a ceaseless activity, nor merely the chance of selling out at a profit to the coming wave of settlers; it was his. Hunger was the goad. The pioneer farmer's ignorance, his inadequate facilities for cultivation, his limited means, of transport necessitated his frequent changes of scene. He could succeed only with virgin soil. 17 Hacker adds that the second wave of settlers reclaimed the land, repaired the damage, and practiced a more sustainable agriculture. 18 railroad age: edit see also: American farm discontent A plan dramatic expansion in farming took place from 1860 to 1910. 19 The number of farms tripled from 2 million in 1860 to 6 million in 1905. The number of people living on farms grew from about 10 million in 1860 to 22 million in 1880 to 31 million in 1905.
16 Historian louis. Hacker shows how wasteful the first generation of pioneers was; they were daddy too ignorant to cultivate the land properly and when the natural fertility of virgin land was used up, they sold out and moved west to try again. Hacker describes that in Kentucky about 1812: Farms were for sale with from ten to fifty acres cleared, possessing log houses, peach and sometimes apple orchards, inclosed in fences, and having plenty of standing timber for fuel. The land was sown in wheat and corn, which word were the staples, while hemp for making rope was being cultivated in increasing quantities in the fertile river bottoms. Yet, on the whole, it was an agricultural society without skill or resources. It committed all those sins which characterize a wasteful and ignorant husbandry. Grass seed was not sown for hay and as a result the farm animals had to forage for themselves in the forests; the fields were not permitted to lie in pasturage; a single crop was planted in the soil until the land was exhausted; the. Instruments of cultivation were rude and clumsy and only too few, many of them being made on the farm.
14 In 1800 the western frontier had reached the mississippi river. Louis, missouri was the largest town on the frontier, the gateway for travel westward, and a principal trading center for Mississippi river traffic and inland commerce. There was wide agreement on the need to settle the new territories quickly, but the debate polarized over the price the government should charge. The conservatives and Whigs, typified by president John quincy Adams, wanted a moderated pace that charged the newcomers enough to pay the costs of the federal government. The democrats, however, tolerated a wild scramble for land at very low prices. The final resolution came in the homestead Law of 1862, with a moderated pace that gave settlers 160 acres free after they worked on it for five years. 15 From the 1770s to the 1830s, pioneers moved into the new lands that stretched from Kentucky to Alabama to texas. Most were farmers who moved in family groups.
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Some of the nation's wealthiest men owned sugar plantations, which often had their own sugar mills. 11 New England edit In New England, subsistence agriculture gave way after 1810 to production to provide food supplies for the rapidly growing industrial towns and cities. New specialty export crops were introducued such as tobacco and cranberries. 12 Western frontier edit further information: American frontier The first major movement west of the Appalachian mountains began in Pennsylvania, virginia and North Carolina as soon as the revolutionary war was won in 1781. Pioneers housed homework themselves in a rough lean-to or at most a one-room log cabin.
The main food supply at first came from hunting deer, turkeys, and other abundant small game. Clad in typical frontier garb, leather breeches, moccasins, fur cap, and hunting shirt, and girded by a belt from which hung a hunting knife and a shot pouch all homemade the pioneer presented a unique appearance. In a short time he opened in the woods a patch, or clearing, on which he grew corn, wheat, flax, tobacco and other products, even a few years the pioneer added hogs, sheep and cattle, and perhaps acquired a horse. Homespun clothing replaced the animal skins. The more restless pioneers grew dissatisfied with over civilized life, and uprooted themselves again to move 50 or hundred miles (80 or 160 km) further west. 13 In 1788, American pioneers to the northwest Territory established Marietta, ohio as the first permanent American settlement in the northwest Territory.
New nation: edit The. Economy was primarily agricultural in the early 19th century. 7 8 Westward expansion plus the building of canals and the introduction of steamboats opened up new areas for agriculture. Most farming was designed to produce food for the family, and service small local market. In times of rapid economic growth, a farmer could still improve the land for far more than he paid for it, and then move further west to repeat the process.
South edit In the south, the poor lands were held by poor white farmers, who generally owned no slaves. 9 The best lands were held by rich plantation owners, were operated primarily with slave labor. They grew their own food, and concentrated on a few crops that could be exported to meet the growing demand in Europe, especially cotton, tobacco, and sugar. The main export crop was cotton. But after a few years, the fertility of the soil was depleted and the plantation was moved to the new land further west. Much land was cleared and put into growing cotton in the mississippi valley and in Alabama, and new grain growing areas were brought into production in the mid West. Eventually this put severe downward pressure on prices, particularly of cotton, first from 182023 and again from 1840-43. 10 Sugar cane was being grown in louisiana, where it was refined into granular sugar. Growing and refining sugar required a large amount of capital.
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In New thesis York, a fur-pelt export trade to europe flourished and added additional wealth to the region. After 1720, mid-Atlantic farming was stimulated by the international demand for wheat. A massive population explosion in Europe drove wheat prices. By 1770, a bushel of wheat cost paper twice as much as it did in 1720. 6 Farmers also expanded their production of flaxseed and corn since flax was in high demand in the Irish linen industry and a demand for corn existed in the west Indies. Many poor German immigrants and Scots-Irish settlers began their careers as agricultural wage laborers. Merchants and artisans hired teen-aged indentured servants, paying the transportation over from Europe, as workers for a domestic system for the manufacture of cloth and other goods. Merchants often bought wool and flax from farmers and employed newly arrived immigrants who had been textile workers in Ireland and Germany to work in their homes spinning the materials into yarn and cloth. Large farmers and merchants became wealthy, while farmers with smaller farms and artisans only made enough for subsistence.
The Scots Irish built their livelihoods on some farming but more herding (of hogs and cattle). In the American colonies, the Scots-Irish focused on mixed farming. Using this technique, they grew corn for human consumption and for livestock feed, especially for hogs. Many improvement-minded farmers of different backgrounds began using new agricultural practices to increase their output. During the 1750s, these agricultural innovators replaced the hand sickles and scythes used to harvest hay, wheat, and barley with the cradle scythe, a tool with wooden fingers that arranged the stalks of grain for easy collection. This tool was able to triple the amount of work done by a farmer in one day. A few scientifically informed farmers (mostly wealthy planters like george british washington ) began fertilizing their fields with dung and lime and rotating their crops to keep the soil fertile. Before 1720, most colonists in the mid-Atlantic region worked in small-scale farming and paid for imported manufactures by supplying the west Indies with corn and flour.
producing food for the family and some for trade and taxes. Throughout the colonial period, subsistence farming was pervasive. Farmers supplemented their income with sales of surplus crops or animals in the local market, or by exports to the slave colonies in the west Indies. Logging, hunting and fishing supplemented the family economy. 3, ethnic farming styles edit, ethnicity made a difference in agricultural practice. German Americans brought with them practices and traditions that were quite different from those of the English and Scots. They adapted Old World techniques to a much more abundant land supply. Furthermore, the germans showed a long-term tendency to keep the farm in the family and to avoid having their children move to towns. 4 5 For example, they generally preferred oxen to horses for plowing.
1, contents, pre-colonial era edit, prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America, the continent supported a diverse range of indigenous cultures. While some populations were primarily hunter-gatherers, other populations relied on agriculture. Native americans farmed domesticated crops in the. Eastern woodlands and, american southwest. Colonial farming : edit, the first settlers in, plymouth Colony planted barley and shredder peas from England but their most important crop was Indian corn ( maize ) which they were shown how to cultivate by the native. To fertilize this crop, they used small fish which they called herrings or shads. 2, plantation agriculture, using slaves, developed in Virginia and Maryland (where tobacco was grown and south Carolina (where indigo and rice were grown). Cotton became a major plantation crop after 1800 in the ". Black belt that is the region from North Carolina in an arc through Texas where the climate allowed for cotton cultivation.
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The history of agriculture in the United States covers the period from the first English settlers to the present day. Colonial America, agriculture was the primary livelihood for 90 of the population, and most towns were shipping points for the export of agricultural products. Most farms were geared toward subsistence production for family use. The rapid growth of population and the expansion of the frontier opened up large numbers of new remote farms, and clearing the land was a major preoccupation of farmers. After 1800, cotton became the chief crop in southern plantations, and the chief American export. After 1840, industrialization and urbanization opened up lucrative domestic markets. The number of farms grew from.4 million in 1850,.0 million in 1880, and.4 million in 1910; then started to fall, dropping.6 million in 1950 and.2 million in 2008.