Mechanization of Farming in Minnesota
by Erica Younglove, Reference Librarian, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library (Charlottesville, Virginia)
eLibrary Minnesota Resources (for Minnesota residents)
- "Combine." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 26 Nov. 2014. school-eb-com.proxy.elm4you.org/levels/high/article/combine/24919. Accessed 11 Jun. 2018.
- Nall, Garry L. "American Agriculture: A Brief History." American Scientist, vol. 83, no. 6, 1995, p. 580+. Research in Context, Accessed 12 May 2018.
- "Origins of agriculture." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 10 Mar. 2017. Accessed 11 Jun. 2018.
- "Tractor." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 6 Feb. 2015. school-eb-com.proxy.elm4you.org/levels/high/article/tractor/73127. Accessed 11 Jun. 2018.
Additional Resources for Research
- "Agricultural Mechanization Timeline - Greatest Engineering Achievements Of The Twentieth Century". Greatachievements.Org, 2018, http://www.greatachievements.org/?id=3725. Accessed 14 June 2018.
- Blegen, Theodore C. Minnesota. University Of Minnesota Press, 1975.
- Kolnick, Jeff. "Land, Labor, the Market, and Politics." MNopedia, Minnesota Historical Society. http://www.mnopedia.org/land-labor-market-and-politics (accessed June 14, 2018).
- "USDA - National Agricultural Statistics Service - Publications - Trends In U.S. Agriculture - Mechanization". Nass.Usda.Gov, 2018, https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Trends_in_U.S._Agriculture/Mechan.... Accessed 14 June 2018.
Teaching Guide: Mechanization of Farming in Minnesota
Primary Source Analysis
For each source, ask students to indicate:
- the author's point of view
- the author's purpose
- historical context
For inquiry-based learning, ask students to:
- explain how a source tells its story and/or makes its argument
- explain the relationships between sources
- compare and contrast sources in terms of point of view and method
- support conclusions and interpretations with evidence
- identify questions for further investigation
This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, Mechanization of Farming in Minnesota, in the classroom. It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools. It is intended to spark pedagogical creativity by giving a sample approach to the material. Please feel free to share, reuse, and adapt the resources in this guide for your teaching purposes.
|1. How did mechanization change agriculture in Minnesota?|
|2. What do you think the advantages of horse drawn/steam powered equipment were?|
|3. Do you think mechanization of agriculture was a good thing? Why or why not?|
|4. What new skills do you think farmers had to learn when they had to begin acquiring and managing mechanical farm equipment?|
1. Many farmers had to add new technology slowly, while still supporting the animals and equipment they already had. Build a mock budget for pre-mechanization and after to see how the new costs affected farmers’ bottom lines. Take into account repairs, new farm structures for the equipment, but also larger farm acreage and higher crop yields.
2. New technology would’ve required a lot of practice hours or training time to learn. How do you think farmers learned to use the new equipment? Where do you think they went to do so? Create a training program for farmers to prepare them for operating their new equipment. How long is the program? Is it in person?
3. You are responsible for keeping far-flung farmers informed of new equipment, prices, and other farming tips. Before the days of the internet, this meant a mailed newsletter or brochure. Design a newsletter or brochure to send to farmers. What information would you include? How would you find out which farmers to send it to?
4. Imagine you’ve just added new equipment to your farm. Write a journal entry or letter to friend about why you decided to add the new equipment, what changes you made, how much they cost, and how they are helping/changing your farm.