Laying out Fields for Tractor Plowing
This guide, first published by the US Department of Agriculture in 1919 and repeatedly revised until 1945, gives detailed advice for plowing different fields with newly purchased tractors in the most efficient way possible. The pamphlet, illustrated and easy to read, was widely distributed, though pay most attention to the proviso on the first page. It indicates a nexus of several different and important events in agricultural development - the movement to motorized traction, the expansion of scientific agriculture, and the minimization of labor per acre farmed. This was a a beautiful way of abstracting agricultural production into best practices.
Would such pamphlets, focused as they were on specific field types and land patterns, have worked in other countries? How does the scientific, even geometric, approach to farming fit with romanticized perceptions of farm life? The government obviously had an incentive to teach farmers efficient and high yield methods. Was mechanization of farming a government project, or was it a decision made by many individuals, with the help of pamphlets like this one?