In honor of National Dairy Month, above is a photo of students being trained for dairy products judging for a contest in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in October, 1948. Here, some students and their professor are testing cheese products (something I wouldn’t mind doing). Want to know more about dairy production in Iowa and at Iowa State University? Stop by and have a look at the Iowa State Dairy Association Records (MS 65), the Department of Food Technology Laboratory Manuals (RS 9/13/0/5), and the Earl Gullette Hammond Papers (RS 9/13/17). We hope to see you soon!
Another collection is now available for research in Special Collections and University Archives! The National Agri-Marketing Association Records, MS 540, contains the administrative files, conference and event materials, and chapter files of the non-profit professional organization. The collection includes correspondence, meeting minutes, committee records, directories, clippings, conference records, newsletters, chapter reports, photographs, negatives, slides, videotapes, an audio reel, and audiocassettes.
One of the biggest roles of NAMA (est. 1957) is to put on conferences and other professional development events for its members – agri-marketing professionals and students. Their first seminar, “Farmarketing,” was held in 1960 in Chicago, back when the organization was called the Chicago Area Agricultural Advertising Association. Since then, the Agri-Marketing Conference has been held every year all around the United States. Other events they have held include the Outlook Conference, the Marketing Management Conference, the Issues Forum, and various tours and short courses, information and photos of which can be found throughout the collection (see Series 2 in the finding aid).
More information can be found in the collection, along with images, audio, and video. Related collections include National Agri-Marketing Association. Iowa Chapter Records (MS 57), National Agri-Marketing Association. Midwest Chapter Records (MS 64), National Agri-Marketing Association. Missouri/Kansas Chapter Records (MS 83), and National Agriculture Day Records (MS 66), all of which are worth seeing if this new collection strikes your fancy. Stop by sometime!
March 18 is National Ag Day, founded by the Agriculture Council of America “to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture.” Here at Iowa State, we know that the production of agriculture would not be nearly so abundant without the ingenuity and problem-solving expertise of agricultural engineers. One of agricultural engineering’s bright lights is retired ISU Professor Wes Buchele, best known for the design of the large round baler, as well as numerous contributions to the field of agricultural machinery safety.
Here is a photo of an alfalfa leaf harvester, another of Buchele’s contributions to the design of more efficient farm machinery.
Please join ISU Special Collections in celebrating National Ag Day! To find out more about Wes Buchele, check out this finding aid. More collections related to agricultural engineering can be found in RS 9/7, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.
“Dirt Farm Editing,” perhaps it should be called for I try to tamp my stories full of dirt but never to dish it out. Clean dirt, the kind that grows your bacon and eggs, the “dirt farmer” sort of dirt, including muck, mire, mud and manure, but just the same the soil and soul of the nation.
– Ray Anderson. “My Stories are Full of Dirt! An All-American Farm Editor Gives Low Down on His Job.” The Quill, April 1928. (MS 61, box 1, folder 3)
Ray Anderson, former farmer, was best known for his work as a journalist. From 1927-1944 he served as Farm Editor for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. His regular columns included “Fence Drift: Caught in the Woven Wire” (observational poetry) and “SHUCKS! Let’s Talk It Over” (news and observations). In 1944 he left the Gazette to join the staff of Farm Journal as an Associate Editor. Calling Anderson “America’s greatest farm reporter,” Farm Journal Editor Carroll P. Streeter, described Anderson as possessing the “liveliest reportorial curiosity I have ever known. Nothing pleases him so much as striking out to go new places, see new things, meet new people, encounter new ideas. He will never outgrow this if he lives to be 100.” (MS 61, box 1, folder 11).
Sunshine, at last.
* * *
Puts color in the corn.
And happy in the heart of the farmer.
* * *
‘Twas ever so, in Iowa.
Gloom never aught but temporary.
* * *
Soil, rain, sunshine, the man on the acres.
Reasons why we live in the center of the world.
– Fence Drift: Caught in the Woven Wire.
Undated. (MS 61, box 1, folder 4)
- Neal Black Papers, MS 78 – Finding Aid
- Wayne Darrow Papers, MS 21 – Finding Aid
- Newspaper Farm Editors of America, MS 633 – Finding Aid
- James V. Risser, Jr. Papers, MS 438- Finding Aid
- Charles Walters Papers, MS 588 – Finding Aid
As always, we are happy to help you with your research. Give us a call or email!
Thanksgiving day is over, but a weekend full of leftovers is ahead! While you’re trying to figure out what to do with all of that leftover turkey, why not learn a little about how that bulky bird was raised? Or, rather, how that bird would have been raised a couple of generations ago.
While commercially-produced turkeys today are Broad Breasted Whites, 70 years ago Bronze was the breed (and color) of choice. In fact, my grandfather started out raising Bronze turkeys, but both my father and my brother raise Broad Breasted White. Of course, some smaller operations today raise heritage turkeys, including the White Holland (an ancestor of today’s widely raised Broad Breasted White), Narragansett, and Bourbon Red.
Let’s say you want to be an old-fashioned turkey farmer. Well, there are few things you need to know: sanitation and disease prevention, equipment, how to care for baby turkeys, and how to feed them until market age.
Sanitation and Disease Prevention
Sanitation and disease prevention were just as important in the old days as it is today. The USDA Farmer’s Bulletin No. 1409: Turkey Raising, 1940, provides some guidelines and common practices regarding this issue. It was incredibly important that farms had some sort of sanitation system in place. These included making sure the range had clean soil, feeding birds from feeders that couldn’t be contaminated by their droppings, and always keeping the buildings sanitary. When it came to feed, sanitation of containers was especially important when milk was used (yes, turkeys used to be fed milk). Of utmost importance was keeping turkeys separate from chickens and any other poultry – diseases are easily spread from poultry species to poultry species (this includes pet birds)!
Swift’s Turkey Feeding and Management Guide, undated but from the pre-Broad Breasted White era, provides some additional guidelines. These include availability of fresh, clean water at all times, cleaning and disinfecting brooder houses before new poults arrive, regular disinfecting of equipment, and not allowing visitors to enter turkey buildings or walk on the range, as diseases are easily spread between flocks. These practices are generally still in place today.
Now that you know how to keep your birds healthy, you need to know what equipment is needed.
Swift’s Turkey Feeding and Management Guide recommends equipment to be used to raise 1,000 turkeys – a number that pales in comparison to today’s 10,000+ on turkey farms. Poults (the proper term for baby turkeys, not “chicks” like this guide calls them) were commonly raised both in brooder houses – and still are today, although the buildings are much larger – and on the range (outdoors).
Equipment suggested in the guide include 4-foot long feeders, so that poults always have access to feed, 3-gallon poult-sized fountains for water, larger 6-foot long feeders for when the turkeys get a little bigger, 4 stoves designed for 500 poults each; these were used to keep the turkeys warm. Stoves are still used today, suspended in the air so they hover above the poults, like a low-hanging, warm roof. Brooder houses at the time were recommended to be 10×12 feet or so, with equal size sun porches for fresh air. For the range, 6-foot long feeders were recommended and 4-foot long watering troughs, rather than fountains. Also needed on range were shelters, fencing to keep turkeys contained, and shade.
With all of these set in place, you are now ready to add turkeys to your old-fashioned turkey farm!
At this point the question is, how do you raise baby turkeys on a 1940s farm? The USDA Farmer’s Bulletin No. 1409: Turkey Raising tells us how to get started. First of all, the litter (stuff that’s put on the ground in turkey buildings) was supposed to be sand or gravel for the first two or three weeks, and then switched over to straw or hay. Today, sawdust is used throughout the turkeys’ lifespans.
Knowing when to start feeding your poults is also important on your 1940s turkey farm, since they have probably hatched on your farm. In 1940, leaving poults in a darkened incubator for 12-24 hours and feeding them as soon as they were moved to the brooder house was becoming the general practice. It also thought to be better than waiting for up to 72 hours, which was sometimes done.
I know you’re thinking, “Great, but when it comes time to feed them, what do I actually feed them?” Let’s take a look, shall we?
The USDA Farmer’s Bulletin No. 1409: Turkey Raising comes to the rescue again, providing guidelines and recipes on feeding your turkeys. First and foremost, feed was to be available to turkeys at all times, from hatching to market.
The first feed poults were given was to be made up of green feed (finely chopped, tender) and dry starting mash (recipes to follow). Ground or crumbled hard-boiled eggs could be added to the mixture, and milk – “if not too high priced” – could be kept in front of them in easily cleaned containers, such as crockery, tin, wooden or granite.
For the first six to eight weeks, a well-balanced, all-mash ration was considered the simplest and most practical way to go. Commercial mashes were available, but they could be made at home as well. The following is one of two mashes that could be prepared, and the one the USDA recommended and fed without liquid milk:
Starting Mash No. 1:
- Ground yellow corn (17 parts by weight*),
- pulvarized whole oats (15),
- 50-55% protein meat scrap (12),
- Wheat bran (12),
- wheat middlings or shorts (12),
- dried milk (10),
- alfalfa leaf meal (10),
- 60% protein fish meal (10),
- cod-liver oil (1.5),
- fine sifted salt (.5)
* parts by weight add up to 100
After those six to eight weeks, up until market, the feed changed. It could included mash and whole grain or liquid milk and whole grain supplemented with insects and green feed. However, it was better to supply sufficient protein and minerals in the mash, as that would help with regular growth. The USDA guide provides four different growing mash recipes, but the main differences from the starting mash listed above include the omission of cod-liver oil, different amounts of each ingredient, and in some cases the addition of steamed bonemeal and ground oystershell or limestone.
With all this information (and much more thorough research conducted by yourself), you should be ready to run your own 1940s-era turkey farm! Or, maybe you just know a bit more about the history of turkey farming. That’s fine too.
For more information on raising turkeys and other poultry-related information – including how turkeys were prepared for market and how they were selected for breeding, see the Iowa Poultry Association Records, MS 67. We also have a book on the farm struggles of one man in the 1930s, including entries on turkey farming: Years of Struggle: The Farm Diary of Elmer G. Powers. Want to know how your turkey is raised today? Read this blog post (full disclosure: written by my sister-in-law) that provides a farmer’s perspective. The Iowa Turkey Federation is also a great resource – plus, they have lots of turkey recipes on their website, in case you haven’t figured out how to deal with all those leftovers yet.
Today marks the first full day of autumn – the equinox actually occurred last night. Some may be sad to see summer go, but I for one am more than ready for fall weather and all of the wonderful things that go along with it (pumpkin everything comes to mind). One of autumn’s most notable sights here in Iowa is that of combines plowing through golden fields of corn and soybeans.
Harvest is a busy time for farmers, full of long days and short nights. It’s also dangerous, with lots of large machinery and massive amounts of grain to work with. As it happens, this first week of autumn is also National Farm Safety and Health Week! Farm safety is an important issue to farmers and their families, and we farm kids had it instilled in us at a young age. Below is a great example of a child doing something he shouldn’t.
This and four other photos taken on the Irving Sorenson farm are mounted on a card labeled “Farm Safety,” so these photos were presumably used for farm safety education. The Sorenson farm photos are available on our Flickr page. We have several collections regarding farm safety, including the Norval J. Wardle Papers, the Wesley Fisher Buchele Papers, the Dale O. Hull Papers, the Iowa Farm Safety Council Records, and the Herbert Plambeck Papers. For more information, search through our website or ask us about our other holdings!
I’m Hillary H., the new Silos and Smokestacks intern working in the ISU Special Collections. I’m here for the summer from the School of Library and Information Science at UNC-Chapel Hill where I’m working on my MS in Library Science (concentration in Archives and Records Management). I’ve worked with rare books previously, and have several years experience in the used book business.
In my work here, I’ll be putting together an online collection about the early Extension work in Iowa. It will have a special emphasis on the agricultural work done by the Extension Service and the impact it had on the lives of Iowa’s farmers.
Lots of progress has been made already. Thus far I’ve gone through nearly one hundred folders of material, and not only have I found dozens of pieces that have potential to make it into the digital collection, I have also found several references I never anticipated seeing anywhere outside of my hometown. For instance, Walter Hines Page was a name I’d only ever seen in relation to my high school (it’s named after him), but I recently found a few comments about Page and comments about one of the national committees he had served on. It is definitely not what I had expected to find in Iowa, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
In addition to the aforementioned findings, there has already been some preliminary designing of the website, and conservation work is set to begin in the next day or so.
Expect another update from me soon!
Fans of steampunk and fans of tractors should find this interesting. Below is a photo of a small Case tractor with a steam engine and steel wheels. I, for one, never knew steam powered tractors existed until I came upon photos of them on our Flickr site! Case made these tractors from 1869-1924, according to this informational pamphlet. Instead of the red body we know today, Case’s early steam tractors were black with red on the wheels.
For more information on tractors and other farm machinery, check out our guide on Agricultural Collections – Engineering and Technology. Any of our other agricultural collections may be of use as well, so feel free to take a look at our other agriculture-related subject guides and our collections from the Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering. We also have a couple of collections involving steam engines, such as the Warren H. Meeker Papers, RS 11/10/15, and the Howard Healy Steam Traction Engines Collection, MS 442, the finding aid of which is available in the department.
Cheese-lovers and ice cream aficionados rejoice! It’s National Dairy Month! To celebrate, here’s a photo of the source of these wonderful things, a dairy cow.
Dairy has been studied at Iowa State University since 1880, both in the respects of breeding and caring for dairy cows and of food production. Of course, cheese and ice cream aren’t the only things that dairy cows have given us. Thanks to these creatures we have milk, yogurt (frozen, Greek, etc.), gelato, lattes, milk chocolate, and much more. For more information on dairy cattle and dairy foods, we have several collections for you to peruse. The best bets include the Department of Food Technology Laboratory Manuals, Earl Gullette Hammond Papers, Richard L. Willham Papers, Wise Burroughs Papers, Damon Von Catron Papers, the Iowa State Dairy Association Records, and various collections within the Cooperative Extension Service in Agriculture and Home Economics. Also be sure to check out Flickr for more dairy-related photos. Enjoy!
When you look for photos of iconic campus buildings, what do you expect to see? The building in question, a lovely green lawn, maybe a sprinkling of trees, and… sheep? Probably not, unless you’re researching Iowa State’s sheep barns. The sheep grazing in the foreground of this photo with their shepherd and sheepdog add an interesting dimension to this image of the often photographed campanile – although, of course, all photos of the campanile are interesting. The campanile was built in 1899 in honor of prominent ISU alum Edgar Stanton’s beloved wife, Margaret MacDonald Stanton, who was Iowa State’s first dean of women and passed away in 1895. After Edgar Stanton’s death in 1920, 26 bells were added to the original 10 in his name. These became the instrument known today as the Edgar W. and Margaret MacDonald Stanton Memorial Carillon. As for the sheep, well, why exactly they’re on this part of campus is not known for certain. It’s possible that they’re out grazing to act as a sort of substitute lawn mower, but again, that’s speculation. Personally, I rather like that thought.
More information on the campanile can be found in RS 4/8/4, this website devoted to the building’s 100th anniversary, the admissions website, and on the Sesquicentennial Celebration website. The photo above and others can be found on our Flickr site and in the digital collections. If you’re interested in sheep at Iowa State, you can find additional information on the old sheep barns in both RS 4/8/4 and the Sesquicentennial Celebration website as well.