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Category: Farms

Innovation and the Resistance to Change in Agriculture

Innovation and the Resistance to Change in Agriculture

I spent some time talking to my father this past week about what he knew of life in the early 1900s. I asked him questions about Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods and was somewhat surprised by his response. His ancestors were not doing much of what Taylor talked about because even if they knew of it, it was likely impractical for them to implement. The process of innovation is often very slow. Taylor and his fellow researchers had great ideas, but…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part V

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part V

Though Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, is nearly 100 years old, it contains many practical tips that still apply today. This is the fifth of 5 blog posts on this subject. 5. The need to pursue knowledge and innovation For some reason the label “dumb farmer” has been attached to many of those whose life work is a farmer. The reasons why can only be speculated. The best guess is that many farmers never went to college and may have even missed out…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part IV

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part IV

Though Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, is nearly 100 years old, it contains many practical tips that still apply today. This is the fourth of 5 blog posts on this subject. 4. Creating and Managing a Profitable Herd Any business owner knows this simple fact: if you cannot consistently produce a profit, your business will ultimately fail. Taylor gave many tips to help dairymen maximize their profits with their herd. Taylor’s first tip focused on the…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part III

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part III

Though Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, is nearly 100 years old, it contains many practical tips that still apply today. This is the third of 5 blog posts on this subject. 3. Proper Germ Management  The world today has become obsessed with bacteria. With the knowledge that disease spreads through these microorganisms, the natural response is to kill all bacteria. No one will argue that bacteria can be incredibly harmful. The recent E. coli outbreak associated…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part II

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part II

Though Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, is nearly 100 years old, it contains many practical tips that still apply today. This is the second of 5 blog posts on this subject. 2. The necessity of fresh, pure air Keeping animals in a barn where air cannot flow freely can cause significant problems for the animals. The biggest concern for Taylor was the development and spread of tuberculosis — an airborne infectious disease that mostly affects the…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part I

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part I

As I read Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, I have been simply blown away at the depth of knowledge farmers had access to 100 years ago. One hundred years seems so far in the past that it is easy to assume the information is outdated. But the book contains many practical tips that still apply today. Over the next few blogs, we will discuss 5 of these. 1. The importance of clean, pure, readily available…

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The Surprising Origin of Cheap Meat

The Surprising Origin of Cheap Meat

Today I will continue our look at Dr. W.E. Taylor’s Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods (1913) by discussing a section highlighting issues of supply and demand in agriculture in the 1910s. Taylor’s book was also the subject of two prior posts: The Best Kept Secret to Successful Farming, Part I and Part II. With the increase of production of corn in the early 1900s due to better technology and understanding of farming techniques, the price of corn dropped by nearly 50%. This…

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The Best Kept Secret to Successful Farming, Part II

The Best Kept Secret to Successful Farming, Part II

In The Best Kept Secret to Successful Farming, Part I, I examined W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farming Methods (1913). In it, Taylor implores American farmers to use manure as a primary source of soil fertility maintenance. So where does the United States find itself today? Farming as it once was is essentially gone, replaced by automated dairies and self-driving, GPS-guided tractors on mega farms rather than family farms. There has also been an increasing separation of stock-raising…

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The Best Kept Secret to Successful Farming, Part I

The Best Kept Secret to Successful Farming, Part I

It is an obvious oversimplification to say that the world has changed substantially over the past 100 years. With the dawn of the Internet and the boom of the information and technological age, there are many aspects of our life today that would be unrecognizable to someone living in the 1910s. This idea of advancement of society can make it easy to be dismissive of the past and view it as irrelevant and outdated. It may be a different time,…

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Connect to Plymouth’s Farming Past

Connect to Plymouth’s Farming Past

One of the joys of spending time at the Plymouth Historical Society is the city’s rich farming history. There are many artifacts and documents that help us peer into the past life of Plymouth. Not that long ago, Plymouth was a community that required family farms to survive. Now, Plymouth is a bustling suburb of the culturally rich city of Minneapolis. Those fields are replaced by a much more urban setting with shopping centers, business districts, and a scattering of…

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