Wessels Living History Farm - York Nebraska Farming in the 1940s
Farm LifeMaking MoneyWaterMachinesCrops Pests & WeedsWorld Events

Crops – Growing More for War and Peace

  Food for Freedom poster  
The war and its aftermath demanded that farmers become more productive. Farmers and the researchers who support them responded. This was a decade of major changes in crops and livestock.

The decade began with calls for farmers to increase production to support the war effort and for urban dwellers to plant their own mini-farms, known as "Victory Gardens." Farmers grew more with less human help available, and even had the energy to try new corps, like soybeans.

When the war ended, some of the technology that had been used to make bombs was redirected into growing crops better. Fertilizer use exploded as a result. The science that produced new hybrid varieties of plants and animals contributed to the productivity increase, as well. The shortages of the war years became the surpluses of peace, and farmers and the government had to figure out how to store it all. As cropping patterns and mechanization changed, the functions of the venerable barn changed as well.

Antibiotics and additives, genetic breeding programs and veterinary medicine were all new technologies that changed the livestock industry forever.

Don Geery Interview

World War II, like all wars, was a time of tremendous challenge. Don Geery says that farmers were as important to the war effort as defense workers or, even, soldiers. "Somebody had to feed all these people," he points out. In meeting the challenges of World War II, American farmers developed incredible new technologies in crops and livestock.

Written by Claudia Reinhardt and Bill Ganzel, the Ganzel Group. A partial bibliography of sources is here.


 

Victory Gardens

Go to:
Farm Life Making Money Water Machines Crops Pests & Weeds World Events
 
Wessels Living History Farm
Home
Farming in the 1920s
Farming in the 1930s Farming in the 1940s
Farming in the 1950s Farming in the 1970s Teacher Resources
Media Resources
Our Founder
About the Farm
Visit the Farm
Contact For photos and primary sources, Nebraska Studies web site.
Search Media

Farmers graphic