AMSRICAII AGBICUXTUB3 AT I-JD-CSirTUEY
Annual Meeting American Farm Bureau Federation
Dallas, Texas - December 12. 1950
¥. I. layers
During the past fifty years American agriculture has shifted from dependence
on the muscles of men and work animals to largely mechanized production. In 1900
almost kO per cent of the population lived on farms and each farm x^orker produced
food and fiber for himself and about five other persons. In 1950 less than 20 per
cent live on farms but each farm worker feeds himself and about fourteen other
The fact that each farmer is feeding many more persons than formerly means a
better living in peace and better chances for survival in war. Ilodern wars are
won by men who require not only food and fiber but also planes, tanks, ships and
guns that can be produced only by workers not required for farm production. The
achievements of the United States as the arsenal of democracy depend on the world's
most efficient industrial and agricultural production.
This great increase in farm efficiency is due largely to mechanization, specialization and the application of science to agriculture. The most important
single factor is farm power machinery which enables one man to till more acres.
Specialized farm machines have greatly reduced the labor requirements for many
crops but require large acreages for efficient use.
Though less spectacular than mechanization, increased yields per acre and per
animal have also been important factors in increasing the output of farm workers,
A little more than a hundred years ago a scientist first established the relationship of plants and soil, and predicted that plants would be supplied with appropriate fertilizers made in factories. Squally important are the development of
high-yielding, disease-resistant varieties of crops and the great strides made in
chemical control of insect pests and plant diseases.
Similar advances have been made in livestock production by scientific methods
of breeding, feeding and disease control. In 1900 the United States average milk