Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Ecological Frontiers on the Grasslands of Kansas: Changes in Farm Scale and Crop Diversity

  • Kenneth M. Sylvester (a1)

Farms stood at an ecological frontier in the 1930s. With new and better agricultural machinery, more farms than ever before made the leap to thousand acre enterprises. But did they abandon mixed husbandry in the process? This article explores the origins of the modern relationship between scale and diversity using a new sample of Kansas farms. In 25 townships across the state, between 1875 and 1940, the evidence demonstrates that relatively few plains farms were agents of early monoculture. Rather than a process driven by single-crop farming, settlement was shaped by farms that grew more diverse with each generation.

Hide All
Jeremy. Atack “A Nineteenth-Century Resource for Agricultural History Research in the Twenty-First Century.” Agricultural History 78 no. 4 (2004) 389–412.

Deborah Kay. Fitzgerald Every Farm a Factory: The Industrial Ideal in American Agriculture. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press2003

Zeynep K. Hansen and D. Libecap Gary “The Allocation of Property Rights to Land: U.S. Land Policy and Farm Failure in the Northern Great Plains.” Explorations in Economic History 41 no. 2(2004): 103–29

Cyril George. Hopkins Soil Fertility and Permanent Agriculture. New York: Ginn1910.

P. A. Matson W. J. Parton A. G. Power and M. J. Swift “Agricultural Intensification and Ecosystem Properties.” Science 277 no. 5325 (1997) 504–09.

Robert P. Swierenga ed. History and Ecology: James C. Malin's Studies of the Grassland. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press1984

Kenneth Sylvester H. Leonard Susan P. Gutmann Myron and Cunfer Geoff “Demography and Environment in Grassland Settlement: Using Linked Longitudinal and Cross-Sectional Data to Explore Household/Agricultural Systems.” History and Computing 14, nos. 1-2(2006): 31–60.

David Tilman G. Cassman Kenneth A. Matson Pamela Naylor Rosamond and Polasky Stephen “Agricultural Sustainability and Intensive Production Practices.” Nature 418 no. 6898 (2002) 671–77.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 7 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 103 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.