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History of Agriculture, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia. (Links Added)
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Hard times followed in the 1920s and 1930s. Wartime demand gave way to surpluses. Prices fell. Debt was ruinous. Trade-offs demanded by modernization - for example, tractors and drainage systems instead of new land, roads, and mills - were costly. Annual precipitation decreased generally after 1923. Blights struck promising crops. Farmers tightened their belts, turned to poultry or alfalfa seed production, or left the farm. The young jobbed around, went to school, and returned to try where others had failed. During this period the movement of people from the farm is prominent. Farm population reached a maximum of 132,000 in 1910 and then fell each decade until by 1940 only 94,000 remained. Urban population during the period increased by almost 100,000 and nonfarm rural population grew by a third to 150,000. Few who left the land went into businesses that required heavy capitalization. On the other hand, however, many had reserves to draw on, and the retreat from the land was more an orderly withdrawal than a flight. Those who remained behind often provided those who were leaving a start toward social mobility. As the land frontier closed, the movement into land-oriented scholarship and science was great. Few states made comparable contributions. For decades people with Utah baccalaureate degrees were near the top of "state productivity indexes" in science doctoral degrees. The contributions Utah-trained people made in federal land management agencies were also great.

The State Agricultural College (now Utah State University) was very important to Utah. From its founding in 1887, the school had been true to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's client-oriented, science-based, production-conscious mission. Indeed, it pushed cost-efficient scientific farming to the extent that its very success became one of the forces by which farm population dwindled, thus contributing to a reduction in its traditional farm clientele.


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