Farming Industry (Images of the Past)

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A collection of over rarely seen photographs of farming industry and farming life dating from the late nineteenth century to the s. There are fascinating images of haymaking and ploughing, making cheese and grinding corn, cutting peat turfs and shoeing horses; particularly appealing are those of rural people at leisure, such as a group of agricultural workers in Dorset enjoying a post-harvest drink outside the village pub, or a little farm girl playing peek-a-boo with her grandfather.

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Get to Know Us. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Audible Download Audiobooks. DPReview Digital Photography. When agricultural water is used effectively and safely, production and crop yield are positively affected. A decrease in applied water can cause production and yield to decrease. Management strategies are the most important way to improve agricultural water use and maintain optimal production and yield. The key is to implement management strategies that improve water use efficiency without decreasing yield. Some examples include improved irrigation scheduling and crop specific irrigation management.

Top of Page. Water quality can be affected by poor planning of industrial sites, animal farms, and barnyards and feedlots. Until recently, the type of water source has been indicative of the potential risks of contamination.

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Poor water quality can affect the quality of food crops and lead to illness in those who consume them. For example, the water may contain germs that cause human disease. Irrigating crops with contaminated water can then lead to contaminated food products which lead to illness when eaten. Groundwater, for example, has been considered one of the safest sources of water. However, depending on field location and field size, it may not be possible to use water from these sources for irrigation.

Animals were typically raised with access to the outdoors. Most of the work on the farm was done by human or animal labor. Although conditions like these still exist, the industrialization of agriculture radically transformed how the vast majority of food is produced in the U.

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Over the brief span of the 20 th century, agriculture underwent greater change than it had since it was first adopted some 13, years ago. Modern U.

History of American Agriculture

Wheat harvest in Idaho. Specialization aims to increase efficiency by narrowing the range of tasks and roles involved in production. This approach was applied to nearly all facets of food production. Diversified farms gave way to genetically uniform monocultures—fields planted with just one crop species at a time, over a very large area. Photo credit: USDA. Workers in a cigar factory. Tampa, Florida; circa In the early s, more than half of Americans were farmers or lived in rural communities.


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A diversified farmer, for example, might need to manage and care for many different vegetable crops, a composting operation, a flock of egg-laying hens, a sow, and her litter of piglets. Specialized farmers, by contrast, can focus all their knowledge, skills, and equipment on one or two enterprises, such as growing corn and soy, or fattening beef cattle. Over the course of industrialization, specialization was applied to nearly all facets of food production.

Diversified farms gave way to genetically uniform monocultures—fields planted with just one crop species at a time, such as corn, wheat, or soy, over a very large area. Meat, milk, and egg production became largely separated from crop production and involved facilities that housed a single breed of animal, during a particular period of its lifespan, for a single purpose e. Farmers, once skilled in a breadth of trades, fell into more specialized roles.

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Specialization was also applied to animal genetics, as selective breeding produced animals designed for a single outcome—large breast meat, for example, or increased milk production. The combine harvester performs two processes at once: cutting grain reaping and removing it from the inedible part threshing. Mechanization in agriculture greatly reduced the need for human and animal labor. From to , production on U. Threshing rice. Harnatar, India; circa Mechanization brought tremendous gains in efficiency.

By hand, a person can thresh roughly 15 to 40 kg of grain per hour, usually by beating the harvested crop against a hard surface to shake the grain loose from the inedible chaff that surrounds it. In the same amount of time, a mechanized thresher can process to kg of rice, sorghum, or beans, or 1, to 2, kg of corn.

Like work on an assembly line, specialized labor often involves repetitive tasks that can be performed by machines. This meant routine jobs like sowing seeds, harvesting crops, milking cows, and feeding and slaughtering animals could be mechanized, reducing and in some cases eliminating the need for human and animal labor. Between and , the share of the U. In some cases, mechanization brought tremendous gains in efficiency.

Grain and bean crops, such as corn, wheat, rice, and soy, must be cut from the fields reaped and removed from the inedible parts of the plant threshed. Doing this by hand involves an enormous amount of time and effort. Fertilizer applications on U. In just 12 years, between and , synthetic and mineral fertilizer applications on U.

Pesticide applications on major U. Between and , total pesticide applications on major U.

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Most of this was accounted for by herbicide use. Over the years shown in this graph, U. The early s saw the introduction of synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, innovations that have become a hallmark of industrial crop production. Chemical and pharmaceutical use also became commonplace in newly industrialized models of meat, milk, and egg production.