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"Fertilizing, now that's something else too. It used to be that the farmers would rotate crops. And sometimes in that rotation they would include clovers and alfalfa, you know, to return nitrogen to the soil. And they'd rotate the crops themselves. They used to say to give the soil a rest. It had been in wheat so long, let's plant corn, or let's plant oats, or wheat, whatever.
     "But there's one thing that they used to add to the soil that they no longer do. And that is – practically every farmstead would have livestock, cows, horses, hogs, whatever. And there'd be an accumulation of manure. And using a manure-spreader they would spread this manure out over the fields. Incidentally, that manure spreader had a lot of moving parts on it, [laughs] and the blacksmith had a little something there to do."
     Question: "A lot of farms now are pretty much just one crop."
     "That's right. They will plant corn year after year after year, and they can do that just because they can analyze the soil and determine what it needs and replenish the fertilizer or the chemicals or whatever it needs."

Walter Schmitt on Fertilizing and Crop Rotation

   

Other Excerpts from Walter Schmitt's Interview:

Grasshoppers
Dealing with Grasshoppers
Small World
The Crash & Leaving for California
Losing Your Farm
Free Dances & Movies
Closing Banks
Getting Paid with Potatoes
Hoover and Roosevelt
WPA
Railroads & Trucks
Movies in Gresham
The KKK
Tumbleweeds
Decline in Farms