Growing a Nation

Historical Timeline — Farm Organizations & Movements

17th-18th Centuries

18th century
Civic and intellectual leaders in colonial and revolutionary America copy the aristocratic and fashionable Europe interest in agriculture, science, and commerce, and form societies to promote these interests

1785
The Philadelphia Society for the Promotion of Agriculture and other rural concerns are organized

1794
Whiskey Rebellion, a farmers' revolt against taxes on grain in whiskey

1800

1802
George Washington Parke Custis institutes an agricultural fair in Arlington, VA

1811
Berkshire Agricultural Society organized under Elkanah Watson's leadership

1817-25
Agricultural societies and fairs flourish under State aid

1820

1838
Proposals made to use James Smithson's grant to establish a National Agricultural College

1840

1840-60
Interest in agricultural societies revived

1850s
Farmers begin cooperative to make cheese and to market wool and tobacco

1850s
Farmers' clubs proliferate in Midwest

1852
United States Agricultural Society organized

1860

1860
941 agricultural societies in the United States

1867
National Grange organized

1871
National Grange sanctions cooperative enterprise

1873-76
Granger movement at its height

1874-80
Farmers' Alliance movement begins

1880

1880-96
Agricultural pressure groups gather strength

1882
Agricultural Wheel formed

1891
Populist Party launched on national scale

1896
Height of Populist movement

1900

1902
Farmers' Union started; American Society of Equity formed

1905
California Fruit Growers Exchange formed

1906
Appointment of first county agricultural agent

1909-17
Boys' and girls' club work underway

1910

1910
Farmers' Equity Union organized

1911
First Farm Bureau formed in Broome County, NY

1915
Non-Partisan League formed

1915-17
International Workers of the World ("Wobblies") organize thousands of wheat harvest workers

1919
American Farm Bureau Federation formally organized in Chicago, Illinois

1920

1920s
Farm organization set up strong lobbies in Washington

1920-32
Cooperative movement spreads

1922
Capper-Volstead Act gives cooperatives legal standing

1925
Beginning of the Master Farmer movement

1929
National Council of Farmers Cooperatives organized

1930

1930
11,950 cooperative with 3 million members

1932-23
Farmers' Holiday movement stages strikes and blocks farm sales

1934
Southern Tenant Farmers Union formed to cope with sharecroppers displaced during the New Deal

1940

1947
National Farm Labor Union (formerly Southern Tenant Farmers Union) organizes strike among California farmworkers

1950

1950s
10,051 cooperatives with 7 million members

1955
National Farmers Organization formed

1960

1960s
United Farm Workers Organizing Committee begins unionizing California farmworkers

1960s
Commodity groups move to forefront of influence with Congress

1962
Silent Spring, by U.S. biologist Rachel Carson, warns of dangers to wildlife from indiscriminate use of persistent pesticides, such as DDT. The book becomes a best-seller

1966
Fair Labor Standards Act extended to include agricultural labor; Federal minimum wage extended to some farmworkers

1970

1970
7,994 cooperatives with 6.2 million members

1970
Earth Day is celebrated for the first time

1971
The Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association is organized

1973
Fifty farmers organize California Certified Organic Farmers

1977
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is formed to protect endangered breeds of livestock

1979
The American Agriculture Movement organizes a "tractorcade" demonstration in Washington, DC

1980

1986-88
Country singer Willie Nelson organizes first of the Farm Aid concerts to benefit indebted farmers

1990-2000

Back to Top