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Long-range Forecasts: Prairies, Pampas, and the Role of Big Agriculture in the Hemispheric Movement of Market and Climate Data, 1890-1939

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Abstract:

Every farmer is a crop forecaster. However, in the age before atmospheric meteorology growing conditions were unpredictable, and even today crop and weather forecasting remain some of the least foreseeable elements of agriculture. This paper examines how early agribusinesses produced, acquired, and shared the environmental knowledge they needed for success in an increasingly global food system. Long before it became one of the world’s largest food producers, ADM (Archer-Daniels-Midland) relocated to Minneapolis to take advantage of the Northern Great Plains' oilseed production, specifically the flax crops of the Dakotas and the Canadian prairies. In an effort to understand local environments and predict the annual production of this crop, ADM staff collected weekly data from a range of sources – weather stations, agricultural experiment stations, elevators, farmers, and other businesses. They compiled circulars in an attempt to present the best possible environmental data for managers who then in turn determined the prices of US flax, linseed oil, and other chemicals. However, as North American flax production declined and Argentine farmers began competing in global flax seed markets, ADM found they had to expand their knowledge networks to understand conditions and prices in South America. Historians know a great deal about the well established international crop statistics that developed in this period, and also the relative weakness of long-range meteorology. But ADM's hemispheric activities suggest that early agribusiness worked with both public and private interests to develop a specialized and asymmetrical knowledge of grassland agriculture in both the Prairies and the Pampas.
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Name: ASEH Annual Conference
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http://aseh.net


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1279088_index.html
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MLA Citation:

"Long-range Forecasts: Prairies, Pampas, and the Role of Big Agriculture in the Hemispheric Movement of Market and Climate Data, 1890-1939" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL, <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1279088_index.html>

APA Citation:

"Long-range Forecasts: Prairies, Pampas, and the Role of Big Agriculture in the Hemispheric Movement of Market and Climate Data, 1890-1939" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1279088_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: Every farmer is a crop forecaster. However, in the age before atmospheric meteorology growing conditions were unpredictable, and even today crop and weather forecasting remain some of the least foreseeable elements of agriculture. This paper examines how early agribusinesses produced, acquired, and shared the environmental knowledge they needed for success in an increasingly global food system. Long before it became one of the world’s largest food producers, ADM (Archer-Daniels-Midland) relocated to Minneapolis to take advantage of the Northern Great Plains' oilseed production, specifically the flax crops of the Dakotas and the Canadian prairies. In an effort to understand local environments and predict the annual production of this crop, ADM staff collected weekly data from a range of sources – weather stations, agricultural experiment stations, elevators, farmers, and other businesses. They compiled circulars in an attempt to present the best possible environmental data for managers who then in turn determined the prices of US flax, linseed oil, and other chemicals. However, as North American flax production declined and Argentine farmers began competing in global flax seed markets, ADM found they had to expand their knowledge networks to understand conditions and prices in South America. Historians know a great deal about the well established international crop statistics that developed in this period, and also the relative weakness of long-range meteorology. But ADM's hemispheric activities suggest that early agribusiness worked with both public and private interests to develop a specialized and asymmetrical knowledge of grassland agriculture in both the Prairies and the Pampas.


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