Agriculture Timeline

Events

George Washington Parke Custis instituted agricultural fair in Arlington, VA

1802

First American agricultural periodical, the Agricultural Museum, began publication

1810

Agriculture Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, established

1820

Agriculture Committee, U.S. Senate, established

1825

McCormick reaper patented

1834

The growing use of factory-made agricultural machinery increased farmer’s need for cash and encouraged commercial farming

1840

Commercial corn and wheat belts began to develop

1850

Homestead Act gave free public land to persons willing to farm it

1862

The drive for agricultural education culminated in the passage of the Morrill Land Grant College Act

1862

U.S. Department of Agriculture established

1862

The sharecropping system in the South replaced the old slave plantation system

Approx. 1865

Availability of barbed wire allowed fencing of rangeland, ending era of unrestricted, openrange grazing

1874

Hatch Experiment Station Act set up Federal-State cooperation in agricultural research

1887

First Federal Meat Inspection Act

1890

Second Morrill Act broadened land -grant program and set up funding for black land-grant schools

1890

Census showed that the frontier settlement era was over

1890

Rural Free Delivery (RFD) started

1896

George Washington Carver, director of agricultural research at Tuskegee Institute, pioneered in finding new uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans, thus helping to diversify southern agricultu

Approx. 1900

Reclamation Act facilitated irrigation

1902

Food and Drug Act, a landmark in food safety

1902

President Roosevelt’s Country Life Commission was established and focused attention on rural problems

1908

Smith-Lever Extension Act passed setting up a national extension service

1914

Capper-Volstead Act gave cooperatives legal standing

1922

Drought and dust-bowl conditions developed

1932

Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) initiated crop and marketing controls

1933

Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act linked farm programs with conservation

1936

Rural Electrification Act (REA) greatly improved quality of rural life

1936

Revolution in agricultural technology brought greatly increased yields and more specialized, capital-intensive farms

1945

National School Lunch Act

1946

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) established working procedures that substantially reduced tariffs between member nations

1947

Rural development program begins

1954

Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act (P.L. 480) facilitated agricultural exports and foreign aid

1954

Soil Bank Program authorized

1956

Food Stamp Act and War on Poverty

1964

Environmental Quality Improvement Act

1970

Biotechnology became a viable technique for improving crop and livestock products

1980

Food Security Act lowered government farm supports, promoted exports, and set up the Conservation Reserve Program

1985

Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act and Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act increased farmers’ flexibility in planting under government programs

1990

Revised General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) lowered trade barriers

1993

Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act revised farm programs to increase reliance on market signals

1996

USDA issues Civil Rights Action Team report, offering 92 recommendations for overcoming past injustices

1997

HACCP is implemented to target and reduce the presence of pathogens in meat and poultry

1998

The "Roadless Initiative" is implemented to preserve roadless tracts in National Forests, securing fish and wildlife habitat and protecting natural resources

1999

Drop in many commodities prices, combined with disastrous weather in many parts of the country, caused increased demand for USDA farm programs

1999