As we celebrate Indiana’s bicentennial this summer at the Indiana State Fair, take a look at some major farming milestones of the last 200 years.
Before Indiana was officially a state, it was a part of a large portion of land called the “Indiana Territory.” It officially became the 19th state to join the union on December 11, 1816.
The practical threshing machine is patented.
This characterizes the first American Agricultural Revolution.
John Froelich is to thank.
Plant scientists use genetics to crossbreed plants, which can create hardy, disease-resistant crops. Fast forward 18 years, and hybrid corn becomes available in the U.S. causing corn yields to triple over the next 50 years.
Fast forward six years to 1960 and a farmer is producing 23.5 soybean bushels per acre. In 1925, that number was 11 soybean bushels per acre.
By leaving the previous years’ crops and residue in the fields, the amount of water that infiltrates into the soil increases, along with organic matter retention and cycling of nutrients into the soil. Many U.S. Farmers practice this sustainable farming method, which also reduces labor, fuel use and equipment wear. Since 1980, U.S. soil erosion has decreased 66% per soybean bushel and energy use has declined 48%.
Considered another method of sustainable farming, “Precision Agriculture” starts to take hold in the ‘90s. Farmers begin using satellite technology (also known as GPS) and variable rate technology to track and plan their farming practices. In the mid 2000’s, auto guidance becomes so accurate that fields only get what they need, when they need it, resulting in less waste of energy, time and materials.
Looking ahead 4 years to 2006, no-till farming will lead to a global reduction of 14.76 billion kg of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of removing 6.56 million cars from the road for one year.
Image courtesy of CTIC.
Did you know 97% of US Farms are Family Farms? And many of them have been handed down and taken care of for generations.