From Farmstead to White House
In addition to serving as leaders of the free world, several U.S. presidents held jobs as farmers first.
George Washington began recording his planting activities as early as 1760. His interest in implementing modern production practices encouraged regular correspondence with agricultural reformers in England. Those conversations resulted in Washington changing to a seven-field system and embracing a seven-year crop rotation with wheat as the top cash crop, along with corn and legumes.
Abraham Lincoln worked alongside his father cultivating 10 acres of corn, five acres of wheat and two acres of oats in Indiana. During his presidency, USDA was developed. Also, the Morrill Land Grant College Act was passed, which provided land for agriculture and mechanical arts colleges.
In 1906, Harry Truman gave up a bank job at age 22 to work on his family’s farm in Grandview, Mo. He began with zero experience in agriculture. Truman spent 11 years on the farm, which grew to more than 600 acres by the 1890s.
He took over operation of the farm in 1914 after his father’s death.
Jimmy Carter’s parents owned a peanut farm outside of Plains, Ga. By age 10, he was taking produce to town and selling it. When his father died in 1953, Carter resigned from the Navy and
returned to help out on the farm. He and his wife, Rosalynn, also operated a seed and farm supply company.
What a Day!
Watch the Throttle
A simple ½-mile cattle drive turned into a disaster when this farmer got off the ATV to cross the fence. The ATV’s throttle stuck, causing it to fly across a circle of haygrazer stubble without a rider. The ATV came to a stop when it meet a three-wire fence and landed straight up in the air.
If you’ve had one of those days—or caught someone else’s on film—we’d love to share it with our readers. E-mail high-resolution images to [email protected] or mail prints to What a Day!, Farm Journal, P.O. Box 958, Mexico, MO 65265. Photos for publication will be selected on a first-come basis.
U.S. agricultural exports have a substantial economic impact, USDA reports:
$140.9 billion Value of U.S. agricultural exports for fiscal year 2013, a record high
$230 billion Total additional value of U.S. agricultural exports gained from 2009 to 2013, compared with the previous five-year period of 2004 to 2008
1 million Number of U.S. jobs supported by the nation’s agricultural exports
750 Number of sanitary and phytosanitary trade barriers USDA has challenged since 2009 to ensure a level playing field for U.S. producers
150 U.S. agribusinesses that have participated in agricultural trade missions internationally since 2009