My America Tour -13

Telugu Original : Avula Gopala Krishna Murty (AGK)

English Translation: Komala Venigalla

Agriculture in America

America grows 10% of the total food produced in the world. It is possible for them to produce it because of their best seeds, good fertilizers and the use of machine tools.

          They follow meticulously the results of research in the Botanical field and grow food crops in abundance. Their drainage system, change of crops and their interest in their lands made it possible.

          They maintain all accounts  assiduously in the field of agriculture . They preserve the family pedigree of their cattle and  have a record of their feed.  They note down how much milk they get every day. They stopped using cattle in cultivation and they introduced all machine tools instead. We see horses being used for that purpose in rare places-that is because of some keeping old traditions . By 1962 there are 39 lakh families involved in agriculture out of 75% of their cultivation is managed by the owners.

          There are 250 or 300 acres  under  each farmers unit. Like in India farming used to be the occupation of the family. But once the country developed industrially, trade and business progressed, with the rise of cities, many people started switching to different occupations from agriculture. It sounded a blow to the agriculture sector. Slowly the limit of farming  unit seems to grow to bigger sixes, machine tools replaced the manual labor and  cattle and farming is treated as an industry. It was a revolutionary change.

          Farming units which used to grow food worth rupees 25 000 in 1959 , grew  to Rs 50 lakh units. These units which were earning  Rs 50,000  found 36% increase  in their produce and such units reached 8 lakhs in number and the  farmers started  growing second crop too. 70 laksh farmers were able to move their produce to markets with the help of cooperative societies .There came a lot  of change in the field of agriculture by 1963.

          The farming units grew bigger, decreasing the total number of such units. In some areas like Fresno farming is turned into a heavy industry. They call it agricultural automation.

          India is primarily an agricultural country. America is an industrial country. Even if we increase our industries our people in 5 lakh villages have to depend mainly on agriculture.

          Our leaders who make plans for our agriculture should observe the growth and status of agriculture in other nations and adopt their improved methods suitable to our needs.

          With that in mind let us observe the American system of agriculture.  It is a large country but their population is less than  ours.

          Once upon a time America too was based on agriculture. But now their farming , the life style of families underwent a radical change. It turned out to be an industry and business. Total change  is expected very soon.

          Many of our families even now depend mainly on farming. A change is seen in our views about it though it is yet to be  realized practically.

          We have  imposed ceiling limit on our agriculture income. In America they don`t  have such limit. Their least farming limit  is more than 90 acres. The heavy farming units have up to 50 thousand acres. For them growing more food is important than limiting the farm units.

          They don`t use cattle in farming. They don`t have buffollos -either she or he.They have only cows or oxen. Cows are for milk,  and oxen , the bulls go for meat production. Cows are used for milking for a period of 10 years and later they too are used for meat. We depend on cattle for our agriculture and transportation.

          All their agriculture depends on machine tools-sowing seeds, cutting and harvesting crops-everything is mechanized.

          They plow the fields 4 to 10 inches deep with  their iron plows. they irrigate them, level them and with the help of machines lay the boundaries using nails and plastic cloth. Those boundaries help maintaining the level of water. They have to lay the boundaries  every year. the machine lays 1000 yards of boundary in an hour.

          They don`t have planting system. They sow the seed, straight away in watered fields. When the  seedlings appear they  remove the excess water. Till harvest season they irrigate  the fields as much as necessary.

          Their airplanes sow the seeds flying 20 or 25 feet high on the field. they use up to 180 pounds of seed per acre. The crop grows thick but not very high.

          In the year 1962 on an average the farmers produced 4800 pounds per acre in California state. Some even got 6000 pounds. that means 37 sacks of grain in an acre-their average being 27 sacks (bags).

          They use  chemical fertilizers per acre costing rs 75 or 100 annually. Using hay as fertilizer is very rare. They use hay as beds for cattle and burn the rest of it in the fields. They don`t use hay as fodder for their cattle.

          They use the machine called Combine for cutting the crop. It costs roughly one lak rupees. The driver presses the button, it moves at the speed of 5 miles an hour cutting the crop up to three yards . The cut crop is pulled into the machine and thrashed throwing the hay down. The grain gets filled in a tub. The moment a yub is filled a lorry draws it and loads it. The machine can cut and harvest the crop in 6 or 7 acres in an hour.

          The grain harvested is still moist. they pass the grain into a machine with 100 degree heat to get the moisture  sucked out. Another part of the machine cleans the grain  and thus  they take it to storing place.

          From sowing seeds to getting the crop to storage they do not touch it with hands and then maintain its cleanliness.

          They sow paddy between 15th April and 15 th May. Crop cutting is done from the end of August to the end of September.

          100 pounds of grain costs 4.50 $ equal to our 22050 rupees. They lease out the lands as they wish. There are no laws to govern it.

          Each farmer cultivating 100 acres ,buys all the machinary spending 15000 rupees at least. They can use those machines  in 300 or 400 acres. That is why the farmer takes the land on lease. With the help of their machinary each farmer can work alone in 400 acres.  Two or three people manage 10,000 acres. They use machinary  worth 50 lakhs. They use 1.50 crore worth machines  to cultivate 40000 acres, 6 0r 7 people manage the whole work.

          They are doing all the food growth through automation.Other countries who are advanced industrially are stunned at the American system of agriculture. We cannot dream  of such a revolution in food growth in near future.  Their government does not interfere  in the agriculture sector. But when it is necessary the crop controlling corporation gives suggestions to farmers as to which  food crop they should grow more and which less. The farmers who grow those crops decide through referendum whether to accept those suggestions or not. This is the democratic way of running their agriculture sector.

          The farmers grow much and earn much. But they don`t have to pay heavy land tax. They have turned  farming into an industry and are enjoying the best results.

          Ohio State is famous for its food growth. It is called Hog-corn state. They raise the hogs-pigs and grow the corn on a very large scale. I visited many farm units in Ohio and Illinois States. I visited their poultry and cow sheds. Raising pigs, chicken and cows is part of their agriculture.

          They mainly grow corn , wheat, paddy, barley, oats, peanuts and tobacco. Alfa alfa  grass is for cattle feed.

          I met one small farmer Leonard L. Duke in Ohio. He owns 165 acres and cultivates it all by himself. He has a small size combine, a tractor, a wagon and an iron plow. He has corn sowing  machine, wheat cutting machine, a machine to indicate  the climate, he spent 60,000 rupees on them.  If he needs any other machines he will rent them and rent out his machines to others.

          He took some more land on lease. He sells corn at rupees 6.25  a bushel, wheat  6.50 a bushel and oats 3 rupees a bushel.

          The grain traders and private cooperative agencies decide the rate of grain locally. Government does not buy food grains. they have a corporation which decides the agriculture matters. they too play a role in price fixing. They all fix a reasonable rate for grains which are sold with a subtle variation here and there.

          In those states I visited a third  grade land is sold for 1000 or 1500 rupees per acre. Second grade for 1500 or 2000 rupees per acre. First grade land is sold  at 2500 an acre.

          I went to the cow shed owned by one Buckland Bob. He and his brother cultivate 420 acres.. They have machines  costing 2 lakh rupees. They have 120 cows  60 of which are milch cows. Their fodder  is stored in separate sections. The machine cuts the fodder  to thin pieces and  fills them all in tins. They give to cows vitaminized fodder.

          Newly born calves  are not allowed to suck milk from their mothers. they are fed separately with milk and some food. Their months old calves are much bigger and stronger than our  one and half year old calves.

          They milk the cows with machines not with hands like us. Milking areas are maintained separately. Six cows are led to one side and another six to the opposite side and they are fed. Between those two lines of cows there is a ditch like area. In that area one  person sits on a cart. He fixes milking machines to the udders of all cows. The machines draw the milk rhythmically with equal pressure. Milk is drawn to the glass container which rests above the man`s head. When the container is full he draws a string and the container tilts and empties into a tank. The chilling machines maintain the temperature to keep the milk fresh. the milk van draws milk  from the tank and measures it  before taking it to the city centers.

          This milking system was new to me. The whole system and sight was appealing to me.

          The farmer sells 5000 pounds milk from sixty cows every day. 100 pounds costs $ 4 . Daily the farmer gets 950 rupees income on milk. These cows give milk for ten years. I saw a cow which gave  milk for 17 years. They don`t touch the fodder or milk with their hands. I saw the cow sheds in Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota. One Mr Pearson has 60 cows-30% of them are milking.  He sells 1200  pounds a day. He has 134 acres. He took 90 acres on lease paying Rs 350 per acre. His machinery costs 940 00.  He pays land tax Rs 524 per acre. Raising the cattle, selling milk are his main work apart from cultivation.  He says selling 100 pounds per $ 4.50  is reasonable. Raising beyond that is not good for the economy of his country-he says. His is a responsible citizen. I  met some other men with  similar views.

          A cow costs Rs 5000 or 6000 . He has a bull born in 1958. It was in 1963 I met him. He maintained a photo frame with the family tree of the bull.  He is expecting to sell it for 30 to 40 thousand rupees.Some offered 20 thousand but he says he  will not give it to him.

          In America the horns of newly born calves are chiseled and  the roots are burnt, not allowing the horns to grow further. Cows and oxen have bald heads. Cows usually give milk for  300 days, some even 350 days. Their feeding process is new to us. Among cows -Handsteen, Jersey, Gorness, Brown swiss, Ice hair are prominent types. They insure their cows heavily.

          The Americans maintain not only the family pedigree of their cows but also the charts with their milking particulars. If there is 4.50% fat in the milk that cow is considered superior. I even saw some cows giving 2 pots of milk at a time.

          I saw a grass machine in Fresno, California. Alfa alfa green grass is brought there in trucks. They send it into the machine which cuts it into various sizes and finally into powder. The powder is converted into vitamin tablets. Those tables  are packed into bags and sent to various markets. The tablets are used as food for cows. Every day each cow gets more than 2 kilos of it. They take great care of their cattle as a part of their agriculture.

          In this area lands sell 3000 or 4000 an acre. the lands where they grow grapes sell at the rate of 7500 rupees or 10000 per acre. Their land rates are not much different from ours but their soil, their produce are richer than ours.

          The Americans used to do business through corporations. But now they established corporations in their agricultural sector turning it into an industry.. For some it is cultivation, for some it is family occupation and for some others it is a heavy industry. But in future it is going to be totally an industry.

          They donot have a system of fixing rates for their commodities. Whether to follow the suggestions of crop control corporation or not  is left to the growers  corporation.

          The growers, government will accept their decision. For example Kennedy made an appeal to the farmers to reduce the amount of wheat growth in order not to risk the rates . But the farmers through their referendum decided to grow their usual amount. The government accepted their decision.

          The farmers have an advantage. They can insure their crops and get the money according to that days` rate. If the rate is low they can leave the produce to the government and take the money. If the rate is up then they themselves can sell their produce and pay the insurance.

          They grow cotton 2 to 4 packs  per acre. Each pack contains 500 pounds. They grow barley upto 4000 pounds. that is the case with the other crops too.

          I went deep inside their fields. Their roads and trasport facilities are good.

          You get the same facilities and comforts in the cities as well as in the villages. Whatever you get in the cities is available in their villages too.


(to be continued…)

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