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A Kind of Fate: Agricultural Change in Virginia, 1861-1920

by Sharrer, G. Terry

  • ISBN: 9780813825694
  • ISBN10: 0813825695

A Kind of Fate: Agricultural Change in Virginia, 1861-1920

by Sharrer, G. Terry

  • List Price: $49.99
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Iowa State University Press
  • Publish date: 01/01/2007
  • ISBN: 9780813825694
  • ISBN10: 0813825695
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Description: The Civil War crowded soldiers and consequently diseases claimed two lives for every one lost in battle. That war also provoked animal plagues, particularly in Virginia, where the struggle attracted epizootics from their distant hearths. Cattle fever, hog cholera, and glanders converged where the armies fought, and disease remained long after Lee's surrender.

Similarly, crop diseases arose from the war effort and several of these diseases became more problematic after the war as farmers tried to innovate. Fire blight, peach yellows, flax wilt, and wheat rust bedeviled hopes of growing a new prosperity. This biological crisis took place during a long wave economic depression that lasted through the last quarter of the 19th century. However, in that time of toil and trouble, the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station introduced new biotechnology that, in sum, brought the germ theory of disease to farming.

Acceptance did not come easily or immediately, as new concepts confronted ideology that had existed for nearly two dozen centuries. Yet, as farmers witnessed the eradication of some diseases and control of others, the evidence became overwhelming. Production possibilities increased, creating demands for new equipment, adequate financing, and improved rural infrastructure. A Kind of Fate explores the two generations of Virginia farmers that intersected during this time when agriculture first became "modern".

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