Sunday, October 18, 2009

Normal Agriculture

This is actually more about McLean County than about Normal, but I wanted to share it since I don't usually write about agricultural information. At the Normal Public Library's sale I purchased the book Five Golden Decades 1914-1964, published by the McLean County Farm Bureau in 1964. It's a history of the Bureau during those years and I found a few interesting items as I looked through it. First, the "McLean County System of Swine Sanitation" was developed in 1919 by Lyle Johnstone as a way to prevent runt pigs (it was thought that runt pigs were caused by round worms) (page 86). Second, a couple of outbreaks in McLean County's history: "One of the worst hog cholera outbreaks McLean County ever had occurred in the Fall and early Winter of 1931. Without doubt the worst grasshopper outbreak occurred in the Spring of 1937" (pages 108-109). (And we complain about aphids and beetles!) And third, from the chapter "Artificial Breeding Program in McLean County," it seems that there was a problem with "poor bulls" in McLean County in the 1930s. The solution was to join a breeding co-op in the 1940s. An exciting breakthrough in this program is described: "One of the great boosts to the artificial insemination program came when frozen semen which could be stored indefinitely became a reality, making possible the availability of any bull at any time" (pages 161-162). Any bull at any time. Oh, there's a joke or two one could make based on that phrase. . .

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