Yesteryear’s Memories: Keep The Boys On The Farm

April 7, 2020

In 1882, the Illinois State Board of Agriculture reported that there were 63,456 acres of wheat, 37,221 acres of corn, and 8,852 acres of oats. There were also sprinklings of Timothy, sorghum, millet and clover. The land grew abundant crops and provided a good living for the farmers who spent their lives working to feed the people and the livestock. It’s interesting to note that they also reported 1,766 fattened sheep were sold in the county — but that 490 were killed by dogs!

The book, “History of Jefferson County” edited by William Perrin states the opinion that it was becoming evident that young men were leaving the farms for more exciting or genteel ways of life. The suggestion given at that time was that the farmer should be more conscious of the extreme productivity of the land of Jefferson County and appreciate the advances of crop science — and therefore to make the rural life more attractive. The money that could be made when farming was done scientifically would “keep the boys on the farm” and make leaving a doubtful and uninteresting future.

That was almost a hundred and forty years ago. Human nature hasn’t changed much. We still live in a beautiful, abundant land and in one way or another, we are still “trying to keep the boys on the farm.