History of American Agriculture

Timeline created by nicholh7
  • Farmers near water transportation grow some cash crops for trade

  • Farmers inland emphasize subsistence farming

  • Small land grants commonly made to individual settlers

  • Farmers endure rough pioneer life while adapting

  • First African slaves brought to Virginia

  • Northern farmers produce a variety of crops and livestock

  • Southern plantation agriculture concentrates on export crops

  • Oxen and horses for power

  • Crude wooden plows used

  • Cultivating done with a hoe

  • Hay and grain cutting done with a sickle

  • Threshing done with a flail

  • Tobacco is the chief cash crop of the South

  • Colonies export tobacco, rice, indigo, grain, and meat products (Tabacco makes up 44% of export revenue)

  • Local governments often regulate the prices of basic foodstuffs

  • Continental Congress offers land grants for service in army

  • The Philadelphia Society for the Promotion of Agriculture

  • Shay's Rebellion, a farmers' revolt against deflation

  • Farmers make up 90% of the Labor Force

  • Cradle and scythe introduced

  • Invention of cotton gin by Eli Whitney

  • First Merino sheep imported

  • Thomas Jefferson's plow with moldboard of least resistance tested

  • Whiskey Rebellion, a farmers' revolt against taxes on grain in whiskey

  • Sheep industry became greatly emphasized in New England

  • Public Land Act authorizes Federal land sales to the public

  • Charles Newbold patents first cast-iron plow

  • Suggested establishment of a National Board of Agriculture

  • Agriculture accounts for 75% of exports

  • Thomas Moore invents the icebox refrigerator

  • Agricultural fair in Arlington, VA

  • Cotton begins to replace tobacco as the chief southern cash crop

  • Demand for Merino sheep sweeps the country

  • Agriculture accounts for 87% of exports

  • Transfer of manufactures

    Transefer of manufacters from the farm and home to the shop and factory is greatly accelerated.
  • The Agricultural Museum begins publication

    First American Agricultural periodical
  • Berkshire Agricultural Society organized

    Organized under Elkanah Watson's leadership
  • Competition with western farms causes change

    Competition with western farm areas begins to force New England farmers out of wheat and meat production and into dairying, trucking, and later, tobacco production
  • Cotton becomes the most important cash crop in the Old South

  • Tariff of 1816

    Includes protection for wool, sugar, hemp, and flax
  • Agricultural societies and fairs flourish under State aid

  • Jethro Wood patents iron plow with interchangeable parts

  • U.S. food canning industry established

  • The American Farmer and the Plough Boy begin publication

  • State legislature sets up the New York State Board of Agriculture

  • Land Law

    Land Law allows as little as 80 acres of public land for a minimum price of $1.25 an acre
  • Poland-China and Duroc-Jersey swine bred, Berkshire imported

  • Agriculture accounts for 65% of exports

  • Agricultural periodicals begin to express rural issues

  • Agriculture begins to demand a place in government

  • Agriculture Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, established

  • First issue of the New England Farmer

  • Some schools and colleges begin to offer courses in agriculture

  • Agriculture Committee, U.S. Senate established

  • First issue of the New York Farmer and the Southern Agriculturist

  • Agriculture accounts for 73% of exports

  • Massachusetts becomes first State to conduct a soil survey

  • First issue of the Genesee Farmer

  • McCormick reaper patented

  • John Lane manufactures plows faced with steel saw blades

  • First issue of the Cultivator

  • Patent Office collects agricultural info & distributes seeds

  • John Deere & Leonard Andrus start making steel plows

  • Practical threshing machine patented

  • Proposals made to establish a National Agricultural College

    Proposals made to use James Smithson's grant to establish a National Agricultural College.
  • Farmers make up 69% of the Labor Force

  • Factory-made agricultural machinery encourages commercial farming

    Factory-made agricultural machinery increases farmers' need for cash and encourages commercial farming.
  • Cattle imported and bred

    Hereford, Ayrshire, Galloway, Jersey, and Holstein cattle are imported and bred
  • Agriculture accounts for 65% of exports

  • Interest in agricultural societies revived

  • Practical grain drill patented

  • Union Agriculturist and Western Prairie Farmer start publication

  • First grain elevator, Buffalo, NY

  • Practical mowing machine patented

  • Irrigation begun in Utah

  • Mixed chemical fertilizers sold commercially

  • First poultry exhibition in the United States

  • Farmers make up 64% of the Labor Force

  • Successful farming on the prairies begins

  • Increases in farm production

    Expanded market for agricultural products spurs adoption of improved technology resulting increases in farm production
  • Commercial corn and wheat belts begin to develop

  • Alfalfa grown on the west coast

  • Agriculture accounts for 81% of exports

  • Farmers' clubs proliferate in Midwest

  • Jonathan Turner begins to campaign for industrial universities

  • Cotton accounts for 54% of exports

  • United States Agricultural Society organized

  • New York appoints first State entomologist

  • Self-governing windmill perfected

  • Crimean War provides boom for U.S. agricultural exports

  • Two-horse straddle-row cultivator patented

  • Mason jars, used for home canning, were invented

  • Grimm alfalfa introduced

  • Farmers make up 58% of the Labor Force

  • Cotton Belt begins to move westward

  • Agriculture accounts for 75% of exports

  • Homestead Act

    Homestead Act grants 160 acres to settlers who have worked the land 5 years
  • First American agricultural revolution

    Change from hand power to horses
  • Passage of the Morrill Land Grant College Act

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture set up without Cabinet status

  • Sharecropping system replaces the old slave plantation system

  • Gang plows and sulky plows come into use

  • Sod houses common on the prairies

  • Cattle boom accelerates settlement of Great Plains

  • National Grange organized

  • Steam tractors are tried out

  • Spring-tooth harrow for seedbed preparation appears

  • Farmers make up 53% of the Labor Force

  • Silos and deep-well drilling come into use

  • Refrigerator cars introduced

  • Agriculture accounts for 79% of exports

  • A few States begin to inspect dairy products

  • National Grange sanctions cooperative enterprise

  • Glidden barbed wire patented, ends era of open-range grazing

    Glidden barbed wire patented; fencing of rangeland ends era of unrestricted, open-range grazing
  • Grasshopper plagues in the West

  • Farmers' Alliance movement begins

  • Georgia sets up the first State Department of Agriculture

  • Agricultural experiment stations established

  • Farmers make up 49% of the Labor Force

  • William Deering puts 3,000 twine binders on the market

  • Agriculture accounts for 76% of exports

  • Hybridized corn produced

  • Agricultural Wheel formed

  • Horse-drawn combine used in Pacific coast wheat areas

  • Drought reduces settlement on the Great Plains

  • Hatch Experiment Station Act

  • Meat is first shipped in railroad cars

    Meat is first shipped in railroad cars cooled by mechanical refrigeration
  • Bureau of Animal Industry discovers carrier of tick fever

  • Department of Agriculture raised to Cabinet status

  • Farmers make up 43% of Labor Force

  • Cream separators come into wide use

  • Agriculture accounts for 71% of exports

  • Second Morrill Act

    Second Morrill Act broadens land-grant program and sets up funding for Black land-grant schools
  • First Meat Inspection Act

  • Populist Party launched on national scale

  • Second Meat Inspection Act

  • The first gasoline tractor was built by John Froelich

  • Farmers make up 38% of Labor Force

  • Turkey red wheat emerges as commercial crop

  • Extensive experimental work

    Extensive experimental work to breed disease-resistant varieties of plants, to improve plant yield and quality, and to increase the productivity of farm animal strains
  • Agriculture accounts for 58% of exports

  • First corn club for boys

    Forerunner of 4-H clubs
  • Reclamation Act

  • Farmers' Union started

  • American Society of Equity formed

  • Hog cholera serum developed

  • Forest Service created

  • International Institute of Agriculture established

  • California Fruit Growers Exchange formed

  • Food and Drug Act

  • Meat Inspection Act

  • Country-life movement

  • Boys' and girls' club work underway

  • Farmers make up 31% of the Labor Force

  • Agriculture accounts for 45% of exports

  • Farmers' Equity Union organized

  • First Farm Bureau formed

    Broome County, NY
  • Marquis wheat introduced

  • Panama and Colombia sheep developed

  • Plant Quarantine Act

  • Federal Reserve Act passed

  • Smith-Lever Extension Act passed

    Establishment of the federal-state Extension Service was a major step in direct education for farmers
  • Cotton Futures Act

  • Enclosed gears developed for tractor

  • Stock Raising Homestead Act

  • Federal Farm Loan Act

  • Kansas red wheat distributed

  • Smith-Hughes Vocational Education Act passed

  • Food Control and Production Acts

  • American Farm Bureau Federation

    formally organized in Chicago, Illinois
  • Collapse of agricultural prices

  • Farmers make up 27% of Labor Force

  • Agriculture accounts for 42% of exports

  • Cooperative movement spreads

  • Capper-Volstead Act gives cooperatives legal standing

  • Clark-McNary Act provides for forestry extension work

  • Beginning of the Master Farmer movement

  • Purnell Act

    Purnell Act provides for economic and sociological research to be carried out by the experiment stations
  • Cotton-stripper developed for High Plains

  • Successful light tractors developed

  • Ceres wheat distributed

  • First hybrid-seed corn company organized

  • Targhee sheep developed

  • Future Farmers of America founded

  • National Council of Farmers Cooperatives organized

  • Start of the Great Depression

  • Farmers make up 21% of the Labor Force

  • All-purpose, rubber-tired tractor

    All-purpose, rubber-tired tractor with complementary machinery popularized
  • Use of hybrid-seed corn becomes common in the Corn Belt

  • Agriculture accounts for 32% of exports

  • 13% of all farms have electricity

  • Drought and dust-bowl conditions develop

  • Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA)

    Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) initiates crop and marketing controls
  • Farm Credit Act

  • Thatcher wheat distributed

  • Landrace hogs imported from Denmark

  • Bankhead-Jones Agricultural Research Act

    Bankhead-Jones Agricultural Research Act more than doubles Federal support of extension work
  • Rural Electrification Act (REA)

    Rural Electrification Act (REA) greatly improves quality of rural life
  • Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act

  • Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act

  • Food stamp plan begun

  • Farmers make up 18% of the Labor Force

  • Agruculture accounts for 22% of exports

  • Frozen foods popularized

  • Spindle cottonpicker produced commercially

  • Increased use of herbicides and pesticides

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the Untied Nations established

  • International Emergency Food Council established

  • National School Lunch Act

  • Foreign Assistance Act provides for European Recovery Program

  • Agricultural Acts

    Agricultural Acts incorporate principle of flexible price support and provide change in parity formula.
  • International Wheat Program

  • Agricultural Acts

    Agricultural Acts incorporate principle of flexible price support and provide change in parity formula
  • Large agricultural surpluses

  • Farmers make up 12.2% of Labor Force

  • Agriculture accounts for 22% of exports

  • Tractors are now more popluar than horses and mules

    Number of tractors on farms exceeds the number horses and mules for the first time
  • Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act (Food for Peace)

  • National Farmers Organization formed

  • Soil Bank Program authorized

  • Poultry Inspection Act

  • National Defense Education Act

  • Humane Slaughter Act

  • Mechanical tomato harvester developed

  • Farmers make up 8.3% of Labor Force

  • 96% of corn acreage planted with hybrid seed

  • Agriculture accounts for 22.9% of Labor Force

  • Gaines wheat distributed

  • Agricultural Acts

    Agricultural Acts extend and enlarge earlier programs
  • REA authorized to finance education TV in rural areas

  • Agricultural Acts

    Agricultural Acts extend and enlarge earlier programs
  • Wilderness Act

  • Trade Expansion Act

  • Food Stamp Act

  • Fortuna wheat distributed

  • Fair Labor Standards Act extended

    Fair Labor Standards Act extended to include agricultural labor
  • Wholesome Meat Act

  • 96% of cotton harvested mechanically

  • 83% of all farms have phones

  • 98.4% have electricity

  • Wholesome Poultry "Products Act"

  • Farmers make up 4.6% of Labor Force

  • Plant Variety Protection Act

  • Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Norman Borlaug

    Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Norman Borlaug for developing high-yielding wheat varieties
  • Agriculture accounts for 19% of exports

  • First celebrated Earth Day

  • Agricultural Act reduces controls

  • Environmental Quality Improvement Act

  • Clean Water Act

  • Rural Development Act

  • Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act

    Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act emphasizes maintaining or increasing instead of controlling production
  • Lancota wheat introduced

  • American Livestock Breeds Conservancy formed

    The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is formed to protect endangered breeds of livestock
  • Hog cholera officially eradicated

  • Purcell winter wheat introduced

  • Farmers make up 3.4% of Labor Force

  • No-till or low-till methods common

    More farmers use no-till or low-till methods to curb erosion
  • First American GMO patent

    The first American patent for a genetically engineered organism, a bacterium used to clean up oil spills, is granted
  • Biotechnology becomes viable

    Biotechnology becomes viable for improving crop and livestock products
  • Agriculture accounts for 15% of exports

  • Avian influenza of poultry eradicated

  • Food Security Act

    Food Security Act lowers government farm supports, promotes exports, and sets up the Conservation Reserve Program
  • Farmers make up 2.6% of Labor Force

  • One farmeer supplies approx. 100 people

  • Information technology and precision techniques common

    Information technology and precision techniques increasingly used in agriculture
  • Genetically engineered crops and livestock appear in public

  • Livestock waste becomes a major issue

  • Agriculture makes up 9.5% of exports

  • Farmers' Markets popular for small farms

  • Organic Food Production Act

  • North American Free Trade Agreement

    North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) lowers trade barriers and enhances export prospects
  • Farmers begin using satellite technology

    Farmers begin using satellite technology to track and plan their farming practices
  • Agricultural exports set record at $60.4 billion

  • Price slump caused by large commodity surpluses

  • Community Food Security Initiative

  • USDA unveils organic standards and official organic seal