Agriculture in Boone County
KentuckyBoone County Recorder 16 Jan 1883 page 2 col. 1
Great improvement has been made in farming in Boone County. Twenty-five or thirty years ago our farmers had a routine through which they went year after year, making but little advancement in their occupation. Clearing land and raising hogs and corn was about the extent of their industry at that time, and as land was very plentiful little attention was given it, and many acres of fine soil were allowed to disappear, when it should have been retained.
The farmers of the present day manage very differently, and regard farming as a science which they are rapidly developing. They have many advantages which were not enjoyed by their predecessors, and are being daily instructed by observation, and contact with the theories of others. Agricultural literature finds its way, and is a welcome visitor, in every house in the county, a blessing which earlier tillers of the soil did not enjoy. They depended on their own resources for all the knowledge of farming which they possessed.
Again, the original homesteads have been divided and subdivided till the present owners realized to sustain themselves on what land they own and lay up anything for rainy days, they must give the soil attention, and the result is that our farmers have learned to cultivate their lands without wearing them out by the production of three or four crops, while the condition of the farms in Boone County are improving year by year. The farmers have learned that their land must be fed, and different kinds of fertilizers are being used and are becoming more popular, in return for which the farm yields largely increased crops. In a few years nearly all the farmers will fertilize extensively as the experience of those now engaged in it is entirely satisfactory.
Much more attention is being given a variety of crops and stocks, which has greatly increased the farmers' source of revenue, and assisted them in keeping their lands in a productive state, which is impossible where one crop is produced year after year. No farmer can now be reconciled to the cultivation of a single crop, or supporting on his farm a single kind of stock. The man who pursues this course is not considered authority on agriculture.
Our farmers of the present day are a reading class, which, together with the frequent interchanges of views with neighbors, enables them to take advantage of the experience of many others, advancing them to a point in their business which is not delayed by tedious and perplexing experiments. Taking it all in all, Boone has a very thrifty and intelligent lot of farmers, who are annually increasing their wealth and advancing the prosperity of their property.
Note: This article was written, probably by the editor of the Recorder in 1883, the year the Lake Atlas was published. The earlier period of which he was speaking, about 1850, was not as dark as he paints it; it was in fact a period of very diverse farming and stock raising and breeding. In the 1880, with the introduction of commercial fertilizers, many of the practices were began which have done so much damage to the land, and introduced a cycle of dependence on outside "experts" and of exploiting the land in order to make a maximum profit. This is an interesting article, but there is a degree of patting the local people on the back, and congratulating them on their intelligence, that is typical of local editors; but, that does not mean we need to accept all his statements at face value. The following note shows that Boone County was still predominantly agricultural almost twenty years later. J. D.
Bulletin of the Boone County High School
1 Mar 1911 Burlington, Ky.
"Boone County is an agricultural community, and it is to be supposed and desired that most of the students will, in later years, be farmers and farmers’ wives. Preparatory for this occupation a course is given, treating of soil, fertilizer, crops, farms economics. Attention is given to grafting, budding, spraying, planting and seed testing. Much of this will be actual experimental work, thus combining practice with theory."
BCR 9 Mar 1911, p. 7, col. 1.
Typed by James Duvall, M. A.
Big Bone University
31 Dec 2011.