Growing a Nation

Historical Timeline — 1950

Economic Cycles

1950-56
Korean War and postwar readjustment
1957-58
Recession

 

 

 

Farm Economy

1950
Large agricultural surpluses

Farmers & the Land

1950
Total population: 151,132,000; farm population: 25,058,000; farmers 12.2% of labor force; Number of farms: 5,388,000; average acres: 216; irrigated acres: 25,634,869

1956
Legislation provides for Great Plains Conservation Program

Farm Machinery & Technology

1950-59
Commercial fertilizer use: 22,340,666 tons/year

1950
One farmer supplies 15.5 persons (est.)

1951
Organic chemicals called chelates are found to help protect plants against certain metal deficiencies

1954
Number of tractors on farms exceeds the number horses and mules for the first time

1955
6 1/2 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (4 acres) of wheat with tractor, 10- foot plow, 12-foot row weeder, harrow, 14-foot drill, self-propelled combine and trucks.

Late 1950s
Anhydrous ammonia increasingly used as cheap source of nitrogen, boosting yields

1959
Mechanical tomato harvester developed

Crops & Livestock

1955s
Sterile flies used for screwworm control

 

 

 

 

Transportation

1950s
Trucks and barges compete successfully for agricultural products as railroad rates rise

1956
Interstate Highway Act

Agricultural Trade & Development

1950-59
Agricultural exports: $3.53 billion/year or 22% of total exports

1954
Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act (Food for Peace)

 

 

 

Life on the Farm

1950s
Television widely accepted; many rural areas lose population as farm family members seek outside work

1954
70.9% of all farms have cars; 49% have phones; 93% have electricity;Social Security coverage extended to farm operators

Farm Organizations & Movements

1950s
10,051 cooperatives with 7 million members

1955
National Farmers Organization formed

Agricultural Education & Extension

1958
National Defense Education Act

Government Programs & Policy

1950s
Debate about level of farm price support and surpluses

1954
Agricultural Act re-establishes flexible price supports, authorizes commodity set-asides, and provides support payment for wool

1955-72
Increased emphasis on rural development and renewal

1956
Soil Bank Program authorized

1957
Poultry Inspection Act

1958
Humane Slaughter Act

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