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Burlap bags were neither plentiful nor cheap as WWI ragedBurlap bags were neither plentiful nor cheap as WWI raged

As availability tanked and prices soared, farmers were urged to reuse feed and seed bags.

Jacky Goerzen

April 12, 2018

2 Min Read
SHORT SUPPLY: Burlap bags were in short supply as the cost of importing jute rose and the armed forces demanded large numbers of bags to fill with sand or dirt for the trenches during WWI.Say-Cheese/iStock/Thnkstock

One hundred years ago during World War I, Kansas farmers were urged to save burlap bags for reuse. A shortage developed during the war, as 65% of all burlap bags being manufactured were used for the war effort.

Another factor in the value of burlap bags was a big jump in the freight rate of bringing jute from India for the manufacture of the bags. The rate in May of 1918 was more than $100 a ton. Because of the big increase in the value of bags, and because new bags were going primarily to the war effort, more farmers were saving bags to use again.

70 years ago
By May of 1948, those looking at remodeling their old, original farm houses were learning a hard lesson: It might be less expensive and safer to build a new house, rather than to try to remodel an old one.

Vera M. Ellithorpe, Kansas State College Extension home management specialist, warned that foundations, sills, sub-flooring siding and chimneys needed close examination to make sure they were sound before starting a remodeling project.

“If the lower half of the house is not sound, remodeling may be a costly and disappointing venture,” she warned.

60 years ago
It was 60 years ago that malathion, a phosphate-type insecticide, was approved for use to kill insects attacking beef cattle, poultry and swine. Spraying or dusting the material directly on the bodies of meat-type animals and poultry was permissible according to an order from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Use of malathion was prohibited for dairy cattle.

On beef cattle, malathion was recommended to control horn flies, ticks and lice; on poultry, it was recommended to control the Northern fowl mitre, chicken red mite, poultry lice, ticks and flies. On swine, it controlled lice and flies. At the time, insects were responsible for annual losses of more than $300 million.

50 years ago
By May of 1968, the horse was officially an animal for pleasure riding more than for work.

The total number of pleasure horses had risen to 6.5 million head, one horse for every 30 people, according to Herman W. Westmeyer, Extension livestock specialist at Kanas State University.

Horses were also taking more of a share of leisure time and discretionary income, with people spending about 10% of personal income, or about $46 billion, on horses. The Number of horses was expected to increase to 8 million head by 1972 and 10 million by 1977.

Goerzen is the executive director of Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, Kan., where she lives with her husband, Matt, four children, three cats and a dog.

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