The following agricultural history is presented thanks to AFBF's Farm
Significant Events in Agricultural History
8000 (B.C.): --- Animals and grain domesticated in the Middle East: the birth of
1493: --- Christopher Columbus brings calves, goats, sheep, pigs, hens, citrus,
melons and many kinds of vegetables
1585: --- The potato was introduced in Spain from South America.
1607: --- English colonists in Jamestown, Va., planted grain, potatoes, pumpkins,
melon, cotton, oranges and
1609: --- Indians taught the Jamestown settlers how to grow corn.
1731: --- Jethro Tull introduced the horse-drawn cultivator and
seed drill into English farming.
1783: --- Improved cattle, probably shorthorns, were introduced.
1784: --- James Small invented the iron plow in England.
1793: --- Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin.
Thomas Jefferson invented a
moldboard for the plow.
1798: --- John (Johnny Appleseed) Chapman planted his first
appleseed nursery in western
1831: --- Cyrus McCormick invented the grain reaper.
1836: --- The grain combine was patented.
1837: --- John Deere began manufacturing plows.
1843: --- Sir John Lawes founded the commercial fertilizer industry by developing a
process for making
1850: --- S. S. Rembert and J. Prescott developed a mechanical cotton picking machine.
A farm family in the Western
prairies needed about $1,000 to establish a 160-acre farm.
1855: --- Michigan and Pennsylvania established the first state agricultural colleges.
1856: --- A patent for condensing milk was issued to Gail Borden.
1858: --- Mason jars, used for home canning, were invented.
1862: --- President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating the first Department of
Agriculture. Lincoln also signed
the Morrill Land Grant College Act.
1867: --- Barbed wire invented.
1869: --- Transcontinental railroad completed.
Spring-toothed harrow invented.
1874: --- Georgia established the first state department of agriculture.
1875: --- First silos built.
1881: --- Hybridized corn produced.
1887: --- The Hatch Experiment Station Act was passed, providing federal
grants to states for agricultural
1888: --- The first long haul shipment of a refrigerated freight car was made from
California to New York.
1892: --- The first gasoline tractor was built by John Froelich.
1900: --- Special work projects for farm youth were organized in Illinois;
the name "4-H" was
adopted in 1913.
1902: --- The Reclamation Act was passed, leading to water projects for irrigation.
1906: --- The first rural electric line was constructed at Hood River, Oregon.
The Pure Food and Drug Law was
1911: --- The Farm Bureau was formed in Broome County, New York.
1914: --- Establishment of the federal-state extension service was a major step in
education for farmers.
1919: --- American Farm Bureau Federation formally organized.
1921: --- The first farm market news radio report was broadcast over KDKA, Pittsburgh.
The Packers and Stockyards Act was
The Grain Futures Trading Act was
1922: --- Capper-Volstead Act exempts farm cooperatives from federal anti-trust
1933: --- The Farm Credit Administration was established, creating specialized credit
1938: --- The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 was enacted, authorizing farm price
supports and adjustment
1940: --- School milk program initiated.
1947: --- General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was negotiated.
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and
Rodenticide Act passed.
1949: --- Agricultural Act of 1949 passed, incorporating the principle of flexible
support and giving surplus food to
1959: --- Food for Peace Program inaugurated.
Mechanical tomato harvester
1964: --- National Food Stamp Act passed.
1970: --- Development of Plant Variety Protection Act.
1972: --- President Carter initiated grain embargo against the Soviet Union following
its invasion of Afghanistan.
1981: --- President Reagan lifted the Soviet grain embargo.
1985: --- Passage of 1985 Food Security Act shifts U.S. farm policy toward market
1986: --- A September meeting in Punte Del Este, Uruguay kicks-off the Uruguay
Round of talks on the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
1988: --- U.S.-Canada free trade accord ratified.
1989: --- The number of U.S. farm acres retired through the Conservation Reserve
Program reaches 30 million.
1991: --- More farmers use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques, working
with nature to lessen the need for
crop protectants and other inputs.
1993: --- Passage of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Advances in biotechnology reach the
agricultural producer and consumer level.
1994: --- Farmers begin using satellite technology to track and plan their farming
The use of conservation tillage
methods, which leave crop residues in the field to
combat erosion, continues to rise.
Farm Bureau celebrates its 75th
U.S. Congress approves General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
helping liberalize world trade.
1996: --- Chenango County Farm Bureau Launches into the 21st Century by being
the first County Farm Bureau in New
York State to have a Home Page on
Broome County Farm Bureau
celebrates its 85th anniversary.