Every farmer has a story. And the Smithsonian National Museum of American History is listening.
The museum is soliciting stories, photographs and memorabilia from U.S. farmers and ranchers for its upcoming "American Enterprise" exhibition, set to open in May 2015. The museum hopes to showcase innovation within the industry’s consumer finance, information technology, manufacturing and retail sectors – highlighting advancements from the mid-1700s to present day. Some featured objects include road signs, a 1920s Fordson tractor, and a computer cow tag and reader unit that shows how dairy farming has evolved from a labor-intensive process to a largely modern computer-run operation.
"Agriculture continually evolves and has become extremely efficient and sustainable with the help of new technologies," says Sharon Covert, an Illinois soybean farmer active with groups such as the United Soybean Board and Illinois Soybean Association.
Covert made a sizeable donation to the exhibition. She says she is impressed with how much agriculture has progressed through the years.
"Growing up in the 1950s, I remember ‘walking the beans’ to remove weeds from the fields with a long-handled hoe. Now, we can spray that same field to remove the weeds, and our soybeans are strong and vigorous," says Covert in her story submission, citing one of many technological advancements in agriculture.
Covert’s and other submitted stories may be included in the exhibition or featured on the Smithsonian’s blog and social media sites. The museum has suggested several themes for submission, including "personal experiences, the effects of technology, or the roles of finance, competition, safety, animals, water or labor."
To share your story, visit www.americanhistory.si.edu.