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AgChat Tonight – Agriculture History

June 26, 2012

As we approach he 4th of July (already!!) and look at our country’s history, much is tied with agriculture. Did you know that in an agriculture book from 1902 there was mentioned of a small black cow from Scotland that it was feared would disappear? She was a good forager, and excelled in challenging conditions.

Today the Aberdeen Angus is the dominant breed in beef production. The Brown Swiss and Devon were listed as multi-purpose cattle for their ability to provide beef, dairy and oxen – all essential to agriculture. Today the Brown Swiss is considered dairy, the similar appearing Braunveigh is beef and the Devon is split to beef and dairy, and critically endangered.

The changes in agriculture have been many, from moving out of pens into climate controlled facilities to adapting livestock to a different system, altering the very breeds we keep. Yet providing food choices these heirlooms and heritage breeds still remain, although endangered, providing food in the situations *they* were developed for.

Today’s blistering hot days and technology mean we don’t have to fire up the woodstove to cook dinner. We have water at the turn of a knob, and those who choose it can rely on the sun for power.

A passage from “Getting By: Lessons From a Rural Past” paints a picture from the 1930s –

“It is just so sad that so many people have never had the opportunity to live the good life like I have. I had best not forget the tremendous strawberry preserve that as spooned on those delicate biscuits, that was a fitting end to Mom’s creation.  On special occasions – Sundays and special holidays – we had fried chicken. Now this wasn’t Kentucky Fried Chicken, this was Mom’s chicken, and it made the chicken glad to give up his life for such a glorious ending. It was golden brown and all agreed it was simply the finest. Mom always “made do”; she never had a modern kitchen with all the latest appliances. The center of everything in her domain was the great big wood fired cook stove. This thing was huge and it took four good men to move it. This monster was Mom’s and she made it behave. In the summer when it was 95 outside she fired it up and done her thing with the baking and cooking.”

Households have changed, and agriculture has as well. Join us to look back and look forward…Twitter #agchat hashtag from 7-9 p.m. tonight!

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