How did agriculture grow in America?

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

How did agriculture grow in America?

The Mississippi River that appears in all the cowboy movies is actually USA‘s largest transport channel. Grain is also sent to the world through this channel.

A presentation that we heard at the University of Missouri, which is close to this river and named after the name of the state, impressed us all.

The Greek-born, extremely energetic and sympathetic professor of the university, Dr. Nikholas Kalaitzandonakes (don’t bother to read, nobody can pronounce his last name) told us about the agricultural economy of the USA like a TV show.

I want to study in the department of agricultural economics!

He had all the statistics since the 1850s.

When we look at the graphs showing the course of agricultural production, it was easy to see where there was a jump and where production fell.

The United States had experienced a booming process in agriculture after 1930, but actually exploded after the Second World War.


Europe collapsed with the war, its lands became uncultivable, and it was left to the USA to export agricultural products like many things the world needed.

This demand pushed US farmers to find ways to produce more.

A critical decision has been made here.

The state has given great support to research and development in the field of agriculture.

Universities are focused on how to make better agriculture.

In other words, the state did not give support premium to the farmer for the product to be planted, did not make support purchases, and did not buy the remaining crop through TMO. There is no TMO of the state here anyway, it’s all private sector.

Distribution of public and private sector in the financing of agriculture in the USA. The red column shows the support of the public and the green column shows the support of the private sector.

Since 1950, developments in agricultural mechanization, seed breeding, synthetic fertilizer production and agricultural management have formed the basis of the agricultural revolution of the USA.

After the 1990s, biotechnology and genetic research pushed this rise even higher.

Let’s think about it this way, the budget of the University of Missouri Agricultural Economics and Management Faculty, which provides education and research in the field of agriculture, is 100 million dollars. And this is not the biggest university in agriculture. Consider the others.

Universities, private companies and foundations allocate huge budgets to agricultural research and developing new technologies. Now genetic research is the hottest topic.

And the world’s largest agricultural research center in the USA is not owned by the state, but by the foundation of a family rich in agriculture.


Dr. To summarize from Nicolhas’s statements, the reasons that brought the agricultural production in the USA to the top, reduced the farmer’s labor power but increased his income and made it the most powerful in a few products in the world are as follows:

1. The use of mechanization and technology in agriculture

2. R&D studies

3. Seed breeding, pest control drugs

4. Development of synthetic fertilizers

5. Studies in genetics

6. Sustaining agriculture between generations

7. The commercial return of agriculture is high

8. The success of farmers’ unions

9. The land is flat and fertile, the suitability of climatic conditions


I think one of the most common problems in our country is the reduction of agricultural lands. It has decreased by 30% in the last 20 years. On the other hand, there was no big decrease in our production, fortunately.

In the USA, on the other hand, farmland does not show a dramatic decrease. Farmland has been the same since almost 1950.

On the other hand, the existence of national parks and forests is constantly increasing.

The most important problem of our decline is the division of agricultural lands through inheritance, the non-commercialization of agriculture in small lands and the new generations no longer farming.

Of course, there is also the conversion of agricultural lands into land and opening up for development.

We thought that the division of tens of thousands of acres of land we saw in the USA was prevented by the state. There are also laws in this direction in Europe.

However, both the Ministry of Agriculture officials and the farmers said that there was no such thing. Families prefer to leave a legacy that will not break the integrity, rather than dividing their heritage into small pieces.


The most surprising thing is that the children prefer to be farmers like their fathers. For 4 generations.

They have not fallen under the spell of the glittering world of technology and finance.

I asked a lot why. Some of them explained some emotional and romantic reasons such as “it’s nice to be in nature, it would make me sad to have someone else on my father and grandfather’s land, I wanted to serve my country”.

However, the real reason was that they made good money from weighing, and that technology and mechanization made things very easy.

Tractors and combines, with their high-tech equipment, made things easier and attracted people as vehicles that even I wanted to drive.

In 1948, an agricultural worker could work 180 hours to get 2.5 tons of corn, but now he can get it by working two hours.

Since 1950, the agricultural output of a farm worker has tripled.

An agricultural sector that works less and earns more naturally appeals to everyone.

Also, like us, there is no strange understanding that “They don’t give a girl to the farmer” here!

Everywhere we went we heard: “It is very difficult to farm here if there is no family tradition.” I guess they thought we were going into the agriculture business in the USA!

When children grow up on the farm, in agriculture, they naturally learn the job. And then he takes over the business from his father.

Even if they leave the farm, they continue to work in the same field, either in the Ministry of Agriculture, in unions or in universities.


The state continues to exist as an invisible hand in the field of agriculture.

Washington’s largest government building belongs to the Department of Agriculture. The most crowded human resource is also in this ministry.

But when we talked to farmers, unions, industry representatives, we didn’t see anyone talking about the Ministry of Agriculture or the state that often. So, we haven’t seen any complaints like “He announced a low base price for corn this year” or “He gave less incentive premiums” or “He didn’t buy”!

What caught my attention the most was the power of the unions established by the producers. These unions, which work as a state and have huge budgets, are also the most important centers directing the sector.

There are farmers on the board of directors. Most of the professional human resources come from the agricultural sector. They establish all the communication between the farmers and the ministry and they solve the problems. It is the most important source of guidance for farmers, especially on official regulations (regulation).


While Clay Hemilton, a senior bureaucrat in the Ministry of Agriculture, was talking with the meticulousness of a diplomat, we were able to ask our questions, albeit by force.

The Ministry of Agriculture generally determines the regulations and fully implements the free market economy.

Good agriculture wins, bad agriculture sinks. Maybe that’s the general rule.

Monopoly is unlikely. Competition in the free market does not allow this.

The Ministry of Agriculture does not take care of speculating on prices. They have other authorities to complain to.

The biggest task of the Ministry is to monitor the whole world meticulously and to publish statistics, data, forecasts and regulations in the field of agriculture.

“How do you do that, for example, is it true that you are watching with satellites?” I smiled when I asked. “Yeah” said Mr. hilton

“We have agricultural representatives in embassies in important countries, not just satellites. They do field research, sometimes even going to the field and looking. We also get the data of those countries. We detect agricultural plantings through our satellites. Then we analyze and publish them.”

Some of the industry representatives in the delegation said that they were following these data and sometimes the US Department of Agriculture’s estimates for Turkey were more accurate than ours.

The Ministry makes the biggest regulation in the field of agriculture on GMO products.

And this is one of the most debated issues in agriculture in the world.

In the USA, on the other hand, the issue of GMO products in the agricultural sector has become commonplace. It’s that common.



Which weigh products are now fully GMO in the US?

What do experts say about GMOs?

Is there a mistake in agricultural policies in Turkey?

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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