51) The phrase “buy the farm” is WWII slang meaning to die or get killed.
52) Owning and controlling a farm has historically been linked to status and power, especially in Medieval European agrarian societies. Farm ownership has also been historically linked to types of government (feudalism, democracy, etc.).
53) The Dust Bowl forced tens of thousands of farmers, known as Oakies, to leave their farms. The Dust Bowl exodus was the largest migration in American history.
54) In 1830, it took about 250 to 300 labor hours to produce 100 bushels (5 acres) of wheat. In 1975, it took just 3¾ hours.
55) In 1890-99 the average consumption of commercial fertilizer was 1,845,900 tons per year. From 1980-89 it was 47,411,166 tons per year.
56) In 1954, the number of tractors on farms surpassed the number of horses and mules for the first time.
57) Henry A. Wallace (October 7, 1888—November 18, 1965) was Secretary of Agriculture and supported government intervention in farming practices. For example, he ordered slaughtering pigs and plowing up cotton fields in rural America to help increase the price of these commodities in order to help the economic situation of American farmers.
58) Fritz Haber (December 1868—January 1934) co-developed with Carl Bosch the process of ammonia synthesis, which is known today as the “Haber Synthesis.” While his work led to the production of nitrogen fertilizer, which has helped to feed billions of people (the entire global population, in fact), he also contributed to human destruction with his involvement in chemical agents during WWI .
59) Cyrus McCormick is considered the “Father of Modern Agriculture.” He invented the world’s first mechanical reaper in 1831, which helped replace manpower for machine power to harvest crops. His invention is often cited as key in the westward expansion of the United States. Jo Anderson, a slave, also worked with McCormick to develop the mechanical reaper.
60) Eli Whitney’s (1765—1825) invention of the cotton gin catapulted the rise of cotton production in the Deep South which, some historians note, led to an increase in slavery and contributed to slavery issues.
61) Most concerns about genetically modified crops fall into three categories:
- environmental hazards
- human health risks
- economic concerns
62) Monsanto Company is the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed.
64) Total global cropland amounts to roughly 1.5 billion hectares. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) make up more than 11% of all cropland in the world.
65) The United States, Brazil, Argentina, Canada , and India plant most of the GMO cropland. More than 152 million of the world’s 170 million GMO hectares are found in these five countries.
67) Research suggests that the increased use of herbicide designed to work with GMOs (and vice versa) are starting to create “superweeds” that resist chemicals.