It was 60 years ago in January of 1961 when Kansas Farmer celebrated 100 years of Kansas agriculture.
The commemorative edition took a look back on agriculture in Kansas from the practices of the Native Americans, a chronicle of how Kansas came to the wheat state, a look at the progress from farming with horses to tractors and the progress of mechanization. Also included was a look at the changes that came with the arrival of electricity.
70 years ago
It was 70 years ago in January of 1951 when the nation’s Federal Social Security Law first applied to farm hired hands.
The change in the law made a retirement payment possible for about 650,000 workers and assured that their pension would be paid to their dependents in the event of their death. Farm operators, including tenant farmers and sharecroppers, were excluded from the law.
40 years ago
The residents of western Kansas were predicting a boom in hog production back in January of 1981. A drawback was acknowledged to be the shortage of water.
Those hoping for a major pork industry also said that the region had long been “cattle country,” and that there was a shortage of people experienced with raising pig. Real success, they noted, would require a slaughtering and processing plant in the region.
30 years ago
By January of 1991, a wave of optimism about the possibilities of profitability in sheep had been replaced by worry as the industry continued to struggle under the weight of global forces and low local prices.
Producers noted that there was a very slim local market for lamb as meat and that wool and pelt prices had tumbled into the basement.
20 years ago
In January of 2001, the stats were in on the size of the prior year’s crop in Kansas — 20.04 million acres. The top crop was wheat at 9.8 million acres, followed by corn and sorghum at 3.4 million acres each and soybeans with 2.9 million acres.
Other crops produced were sunflowers, oats, cotton, dry beans and barley.
Goerzen is executive director of the Old Cowtown Museum. She writes from Wichita.