Regenerative Landcare

biocharAdapted from Dan Bensonhoff’s article in the NOFA July 2016 Newsletter

Doing less damage is no longer good enough when it comes to addressing cascading challenges like climate change, habitat loss and soil loss. To address these issues, many ecological farming practitioners have been touting the idea of “regenerative agriculture.” But what does it really mean? It stands in clear juxtaposition to the more widely used term, sustainable agriculture. There’s no question that the land and water we are now working with has been massively degraded through decades of unscrupulous industrial practices, ignorance of basic ecological principles, and human folly.

Specifically, in New England, we have inherited numerous overgrazed pastures, polluted rivers, and de-mineralized hay fields. So, as North Dakota farmer Gabe Brown asks: “Why would we want to sustain a degraded land and soil?” and the answer is, we don’t. We want to restore it. But how?

Roughly 6,000 years ago the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin developed a technique that allowed them to sustain intensive agriculture on soils generally considered to be extremely nutrient-poor. By applying biochar made from excess vegetation in an oxygen-less burn, they were able to continuously plant crops on the same land year after year, whereas those that weren’t using biochar generally had to allow land to lie fallow for a decade or more before it was considered ready for agriculture again.

Since the discovery of this Amazonian “Terra Prata” (literally, “dark earth”), research on biochar has found that when biochar is carefully made and integrated into farm systems, the resulting farm system can actually be carbon-positive, meaning that the system captures more carbon that it emits (on a farm, carbon is emitted through tillage, motorized equipment, plastics, etc.). Biochar is reported to have a half-life ranging from decades to millennia, depending on the feedstock used to make it, meaning that once it’s in your soil it will stay in a stable form much longer than other plant material.

Even more impressive, biochar can be made using cheap agricultural or forestry by-products. These materials, which include wood chips, nut shells, manure, bones, and much more, would otherwise be burned or left to oxidize, thus adding carbon to the atmosphere. Through pyrolysis (oxygen-less burning), those by-products become much harder for soil microorganisms to break down, hence why they have a longer half-life.

The pyrolysis process also imbues a spongy, porous structure to the biochar. Those pores then become ideal habitat for bacteria, fungi, and nematodes, which in turn mineralize (make available) the nutrients that crops feed on. Other major advantages that biochar offers farmers and gardeners include…

enhanced water retention

moderation of soil acidity

increased cation exchange capacity

less leaching of nitrogen and other water-soluble nutrients

Biochar is not the only way we can restore soils, we can also restore soil by planting cover crops, or, where you have ground cover, increasing the diversity of grasses you plant. By seeding diversified stands of cover crops or ground cover, your soil will reap benefits that a monoculture stands of rye, fescue, or oats cannot achieve. This technique, often known as cocktail cover cropping, combines the services of a number of different types of cover crops simultaneously. By mixing together grasses, legumes, and other broadleaf plants, the cover crop will produce more overall biomass and nitrogen, tolerate adverse conditions, increase winter survival, provide ground cover, improve weed control, attract a wider range of beneficial insects and pollinators, and provide more options for use as forage. Essentially, this technique mimics natural grasslands, which are never composed of one plant family, much less one or two species.


Staff Review: Insect Repellant by ‘Things That Work’


Reviewer: Michelle Berry

“Vacationland here we come!” I smiled, thinking of spending time with friends on our annual trip to Old Orchard Beach, Maine.  Our ‘camping tribe’ expands each year, and we anticipate new stories, lots of laughter, and that familiar feeling of coming home.  It was a great trip, but we did have a few hundred uninvited guests.  As soon as the unpacking began, we were eagerly greeted by hungry greenhead horse flies, we expected mosquitos at dusk but not these tenacious beasts during the day! They were everywhere; the campsite, the beach, and they even accompanied us on our morning kayaking expedition through the curving canals, under the Amtrak bridge, and the along the sparkling coast. This was a good test for Things That Work deet-free insect repellent.

S - Insect Repellent

Needless to say, we sprayed down frequently.  During our leisurely bike ride on the Eastern Trail, snowy egrets, glossy ibis, salt marshes, winding tributaries, wildflowers, and busy, buzzing insects were the stunning back drop that lead to a cool, woodsy, flat, open path.  The temperature was a perfect 75 degrees and fluffy white clouds floated overhead.  We passed backyards with large gardens, roaming chickens, and watched a playful little goat trying to engage a big black potbelly pig in a game of barnyard tag.  We found a trail off to the side that lead down to a steep, roller coaster (precariously rooted) path, to a quiet river.  All the while, only a few horseflies landed on us and we had no itchy bites.  I’m happy with the effectiveness of the spray.  The scent is pleasant too and I don’t feel concerned reapplying often since it is made from essential oils.  No weird chemicals seeping into my pores.  It wasn’t sticky and didn’t have an overly strong scent.  The bottle size is generous too.  I do give it a good shake before applying.

I’m relieved to report, we weren’t covered with bites as I expected after four days and nights.  This deet-free insect repellent is a “Thing That Works”.

About Things That Work:

Lisa is a busy wife and mom of four. She’s a career gal by necessity and a creative by choice. She always has a new project in the works, such as wild crafting herbs for the medicine cabinet, growing and canning vegetables for the pantry, making rag rugs for the floor, hand spinning yarn, or whatever her newest passion is.

Things That Work started as one of those projects to eliminate toxins from her home in 2012. She started by making her own detergent and cleaners that were free of controversial chemicals and provided better everyday options for her home like Fluoride Free Toothpaste, Non-aerosol Hairspray, Aluminum Free Deodorant, Fragrance Free Detergent and a Bleach Free Cleaner. In 2014, this developed into a business to help others in her surrounding community discover the benefits of using natural based alternatives, paired with a passion to support small, locally owned businesses with her own.

About Michelle: 

Michelle’s work at SSO aligns with a personal mission to live sustainably and meaningfully. She and her family grow vegetables, and happily play host to honey bees. Michelle is a good woman to have around, she doesn’t complicate simple situations and enjoys finding ways make it easy for her family, and our customers, to enjoy the local harvest.

Riverland Farm Meet Your Farmer: The Lynch Family

riverlandRob Lynch: I grew up in Scituate, MA, eating Twinkies and hot dogs when my mom wasn’t looking, but it the back of my young mind I knew that people including myself need a stronger connection to where their food comes from. When I was in third grade, my parents brought me to Sturbridge Village (maybe you’ve been there – it’s one of those places that people are living the way rural New Englanders did in the early 1800’s). I met a woman who was tending her garden and I was hooked. When we got home, I made my mom bring me to the hardware store and we got some carrot seed. It was probably September but I planted them anyway…what did I know? I was in third grade. So I experienced my first crop failure at the ripe young age of 8. I didn’t let it get me down. Throughout high school, I was always into growing things so much so that I ended up majoring in Plant and Soil Science at UMass Amherst, never really thinking that I would become a farmer. Before I graduated, I started working at the Food Bank Farm in Hadley, where I met Michael Docter, Meghan, and a slew of other soon to be very important and influential people in my life. The farm became my inspiration and education. I learned volumes about growing vegetables, operating and fixing tractors, and what it meant to eat good food. I worked there for 3 years with a one year hiatus as a grower/instructor at Maggie’s Farm (The Farm School) in Athol, MA. After The Food Bank I worked for a friend and former Food Banker, Ben Perrault, in the inaugural year of Mountain View Farm in Easthampton/Hadley, MA, before starting at Riverland in 2007.

Meghan Arquin: My interest in farming began after taking a class at UMass called Nutritional Anthropology. We were given a project that led me to volunteering at The Food Bank Farm in Hadley, MA. My first task was to pull massive fall storage beets out of the ground. I fell in love with the sights, sounds and smells of farming almost instantly. I met an amazing community of people working there. The following season, I became an apprentice at The Food Bank Farm and began to condition my body and mind to a life of farming. I learned so much in that first season about plant identification: the ones you pull out of the ground as weeds; and the others that you let stay and to grow and harvest from. I witnessed the cycle of a season where the soil comes to life, flourishes, and then goes dormant for the winter. Since I was sure that farming was the life I wanted to pursue, after that first season, I decided that I should get a little wanderlust out of my system before I put my own roots down. I saved some money and bought a ticket to Italy for 8 months. I found a few farms to work on through a program called WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms). This is a great way to travel and see the food culture anywhere. I fell in love with the landscape, the people, the language, and of course the food. Upon my return to the U.S. I found myself back at the Food Bank Farm for another season. This is where I met Rob. We worked together up at the Farm School in Athol the following season, and I stayed for another season after that. In 2006 I came to work with Scott and Ferdene at Riverland, where I met the community that supports the farm, and our neighbors.

Rob and Meghan live right on the farm and were married in the farm fields in 2009. They welcomed their first son Cayden into the world in the summer of 2011, and then their second son Charlie in the fall of 2013. Cayden and Charlie help remind them even on the hardest days, and there are some really hard days, why they do the work they do is important.

A Label We Love: Locavore

coffeeDid you know that you are a locavore? Yes, that’s what I called you! A locavore is somebody who eats principally locally grown food, whenever possible. Your personal choice for choosing local food might be very different to the next persons, but truthfully, it is the greenest, most environmentally considerate moves you can make, short of growing it yourself that is. It reduces packing, reduces carbon footprints, reduces energy required in food production, storage, and transport, it is less wasteful, plus it supports local sustainable farms – and that in turn comes with another whole heap of environmental benefits!

We are extremely fortunate the live here on the South Shore, where the locavore movement is gaining momentum, and we have access to some pretty special resources that highlight our local food landscape. The first of which, has to be the scrumptious edible South Shore & South Coast magazine. It features local businesses, ventures, artisans, markets, and farmers, all written about by local writers, reviewed by local editors, and printed at a local print shop. It is the first thing I reach for when I have a few minutes to spare because the magazine is such a feast! Learn more at

The second terrific resource we have is the South Shore Locavores – a collaboration between the Kingston Public Library, and edible South Shore & South Coast, and co-hosted by the Kingston Council on Aging, it is a terrific opportunity for you to meet some of the vendors we are always putting in front of you, taste their wares, and ask your questions. Regular meetings are held monthly fall through spring, but over the summer they organize excursions and you should come! Here are the deets:

When:     July 26th, Tuesday at 7pm

Where:   Speedwell Coffee, 208 South Meadow Rd, Plymouth, MA 02360

What:      Speedwell Coffee is a small company with a big passion for roasting delicious coffee. They have been perfecting their craft since 2008, and love sharing wonderful coffees with curious tasters. Our coffees are grown and harvested by dedicated farmers, seasonally sourced with responsibility, and craft roasted daily with meticulous care in small batches. Join us for a tasting and a bit of coffee roasting education, meet us there at 7 pm.

When:     August 9th, Tuesday at 7pm

Where:   Independent Fermentations, 127 Camelot Drive in Plymouth (near Rt 3 Exit 5)

What:      For this one, be prepared with an ID! Independent Fermentations Brewing (aka IndieFerm) specializes in making craft beers with locally grown ingredients. Many of their beers are inspired by the Belgian farmhouse brewing tradition, but they also make other styles. They brew what they like to drink and that covers a lot of territory. IndieFerm primarily uses Massachusetts-made barley, wheat, and rye malts, as well as some malt from farmers and maltsters around the Northeast that share our ethic of keeping it local and independent. Most of our hops come from Massachusetts but there are some varieties that we like that simply don’t grow here so we supplement with other sources when we need to. On average, our beers are brewed with about 80% locally sourced ingredients. It costs us more this way, but it is worth it to keep the money local and support people who work and think like we do. We believe in making local beer with local ingredients. Help us fight the mono-culture: think independent, drink independent.

Cost for tasting: $7 for a Taster Flight of four beers and/or $2 for 4 oz.

The meetings are free (apart from the cost of the beer tasting), although donations of $5 are accepted to cover the cost of the gatherings, and any excess monies are used for a good cause: to buy books! We hope to see you there – it should be fun 😉

By Pam Denholm

Staff Review: Fresh Rolled Oats

B - HazelReviewer: Hazel Bacigalupo

For a many years I have enjoyed oats for breakfast, aware that they are a healthy way to start the day – unlike empty calorie-packed breakfast cereals! When South Shore Organics started selling rolled oats, Pam gave me a bag to see if I liked it.   I didn’t expect to notice any difference to the oats I had previously being buying from the supermarket, but I was in for a pleasant surprise.

These oats are naturally sweet and fresh, supermarket oats taste like cardboard in comparison. I don’t cook my oats in water, but instead use skim milk allowing them to simmer slowly (around 20 minutes, which is longer than generally recommended).  They are wonderfully chewy and so tasty, it is like eating a favorite dessert.  I find oats for breakfast are filling enough to keep me on the go until lunch time.

"I find oats for breakfast are filling enough to keep me on the go until lunch time

“I find oats for breakfast are filling enough to keep me on the go until lunch time

I also use them when cooking an excellent cookie recipe I used to make when living in Zimbabwe.  Say “Crunchie” to any Zimbabwean or South African, and they will know exactly what you are talking about!!  They are square cookies with a wonderful crunchy chewy consistency (hence the name) and they don’t hang around for long, especially with kids in the house.

Recipe for Zimbabwe Crunchies


  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 2 cups oats
  • ½ lb. margarine (or butter)
  • 1 large tablespoon of Lyle’s Golden Syrup (available in the British import section of Shaw’s or Stop ‘n Shop), I have also used honey in a pinch and it works well.
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Optional – ½ cup dried cranberries

Put all dry ingredients in a bowl. Melt the margarine and syrup (or honey) together, add baking soda and stir till frothy.  Add this to the mixed dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Flatten (I use my hand) into a large greased shallow pan and bake at 3000 until golden brown until crisp – about 30 minutes.  Cut while warm and leave to cool in the pan. Best enjoyed with a good cup of tea, Zimbabwe style. YUM!!!

NOTE: you don’t have to cook your oats, in the heat of summer, you can make ‘overnight oats’ that are just as chewy and delicious. Just do equal parts oats, to your choice of liquid (almond milk, soy milk, yogurt, cows milk) and let stand overnight, here are some other yummy combinations for you to play with:

  • oats, almond milk, peanut butter, banana
  • oats, almond milk, agave or honey, blueberries
  • oats, french vanilla yogurt, pumpkin pie spice, banana
  • oats, almond milk, vanilla extract, dried cranberries, sliced almonds
  • oats, greek yogurt, brown sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract
  • oats, greek yogurt, bananas, mango
  • oats, almond milk, apples, maple syrup, cinamon
  • oats, milk, chocolate chips, cherries

About Maine Grains:

Their mission is to cultivate and deliver exceptional stone ground grains, which are locally grown and sourced. Through a unique stone-milling process, Maine Grains preserves nutritional content and the performance of their grains and flours for natural fermentation baking and cooking. Locally grown grains provide a variety of delicious hearty flavors, and are non-GMO and sustainably grown, preserving Maine land for work and play for generations to come.

About Hazel:

Don’t let Hazel’s petite frame, blue eyes, and lovely accent fool you, this lady is as tough as nails.  From a remote farm in Zimbabwe to the South Shore community of Massachusetts, she’s seen it all and knows how to get the job done, and it is her breakfast of champions that keeps her going long after the rest of us are worn out!

Where Flowers Bloom . . .

The world makes sense to me when I am at work, and I am thankful for that. Especially in a week like last week where some difficult to watch scenes played out in the media. It all stayed with me, lingering while I tried to make sense of the senselessness of it.

This week is a new week. And as we stride out to get the harvesting and delivering cycle of our baskets underway and we interact with our farmers and our customers, I am reminded of all the good people in the world. None of us wants to see somebody hurt, profiled, or victimized. We are fundamentally compassionate, and inclusive as human beings and it is the minority that feels differently.

One of our first stops today, was to pick up flowers for our Tuesday Flower Share from Colchester Neighborhood Farm. The farm is a special place. Adults with intellectual and developmental challenges that make day to day life far more challenging for them than for you and I, come to the farm to work in a community setting growing food and flowers. Here is an example of fundamentally good. And the pride these hard working individuals take in what they do, is heart warming.Colchester Farm Flower Crew

It is for this reason, that we are so proud to offer their flower bunches for sale to our little delivery community. We can’t all get to the farm, but we can acknowledge the pride and care they take in their work, and support an initiative that gives these hardworking souls so many opportunities, and they are flowers! Organic flowers, locally grown!

At the end of last week, I signed up for a share. I decided that I would give my bunch of flowers away each week, to a friend, to a stranger, because of a birthday, an illness, or just because. Lady Bird Johnson (First Lady of the United States 1963-1969, wife of the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson) is quoted: “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.” She initiated many upliftment projects through public plantings, highway beautification programs, and wildflower protection legislation.

So, thanks to Phil Nichols, the Farm Manager at Colchester Neighbourhood Farm, and a special thanks to Janina Busch Amhrein for spearheading the flower program and her care in packaging and labeling the flowers, and lots of gratitude to all the workers on the farm who seeded, watered, and nurtured these bouquets with love, care, and pride,  just so they could bring a little joy and hope to somebody else.

R - Bouquet 2

Rain, Rain – Please Don’t Go Away

mass mapJust in the last few weeks I have looked with dismay as my lovely green lawn slowly turned into patches of brown. A lot of the beautiful lawns I drive by seem to be suffering a similar fate, despite desperate attempts to reverse the situation with sprinklers and hoses. Unfortunately nothing can replace a good downpour that goes deep into the soil giving life to the roots of a plant. While reading about the current rainfall pattern I found the following interesting information. Drought is a temporary hazard of nature occurring from a lack of precipitation over an extended period of time. Drought differs from aridity, a permanent feature of climate restricted to regions of low rainfall. Rainfall deficiencies caused by a drought create a severe hydrologic imbalance resulting in considerable water shortages.

The beginning of a drought is typically determined by comparing the current meteorological situation to an average based on a 30-year period of record. This “operational” definition of drought allows meteorologists to analyze the frequency, severity, and duration of the aberration for any given historical period and aides in the development of response and mitigation strategies.

The wet weather of the last several months has significantly improved long-term drought conditions. But long-term drought is lingering in some areas, and short-term dry conditions have developed in others. Massachusetts has seen less rainfall than usual this month, leading to moderate drought conditions in several areas, officials said.

Though a place is not officially suffering a drought until the state declares one, the National Drought Mitigation Center rated the conditions in Essex County, most of Middlesex County, and parts of Worcester County as “D1 intensity,” the least-intense type of drought.

The center considers the rest of the state “abnormally dry.” This month, Boston has received 1.69 fewer inches of rain than normal.

In severe drought conditions, which are expected to increase with climate change, organic farms have the potential to produce high yields because of the higher water-holding capacity of organically farmed soils. Organic farmers can’t rely on synthetic fertilizer to enrich their soils so they use other methods, like mixing in compost, manure and plant debris to fertilize soil. That added organic material locks in moisture and nutrients more effectively than soil that has been conventionally farmed and contains less organic material

The environmental benefits associated with organic agriculture are less contentious than the issue of yield. Studies have shown that organic agriculture, by trading synthetic fertilizers for a deeper dependence on crop management and organic materials, leads to healthier soils that store more carbon, retain more water and nutrients, and lead to less nutrient runoff and water pollution. Poor soil can decrease crop yields, meaning that conventional agriculture, if it damages the soil, could ultimately be less productive in the long-run than organic,

Overall, organic farms tend to store more soil carbon, have better soil quality, and reduce soil erosion. Organic agriculture also creates less soil and water pollution and lower greenhouse gas emissions. And it is more energy efficient because it doesn’t rely on synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. It is also associated with greater biodiversity of plants, animals, insects and microbes as well as genetic diversity. Biodiversity increases the services that nature provides like pollination and improves the ability of farming systems to adapt to changing conditions.

By Hazel Bacigalupo

Staff Review: Fox Point Garlic Dill Pickles

B - Michael Reviewer: Michael Borghesani

I wouldn’t consider myself a pickle connoisseur, but these are one of the best pickles I have ever had. I tried the Fox Point Garlic Dill Pickles. They are very tangy, but also have a stable garlic taste (obviously). I also like that there isn’t any food coloring in these pickles because it is sometimes hard to find pickles without it.

The pickle juice is also really very good, not too vinegary, but still full of tangy flavor. Not everyone drinks pickle juice (I love it, don’t judge!) but if you are one of us, you could buy these pickles just for the juice – it’s THAT good!

There are other flavors of this brand of pickle that I have not tried, but if they are anything like these, they should be fantastic. Next time you are in a pickle over which pickle to enjoy with a sandwich or just as a snack on its own, you know just what to do. Or, rather, don’t be a pickle,  buy these pickles!!

About Fox Point Pickles:

Fox Point Pickles are small batch hand-made and hand packed in the Ocean State of Rhode Island. They are made with no additives or preservatives, using only fresh produce, locally grown when seasonally available. They are pickle-proud!

S - Pickles Garlic Foxpoint

About Michael:

Our young Padawan – a trip to Nicaragua forever colored the lens through which he sees our food system, his desire to see it reformed into something more sustainable led him to us, and we will be forever grateful.  He has a ferocious appetite (the envy of the rest of the crew), and pickle juice is his guilty pleasure.

Early History of Farming in the U.S.

old farmInformation provided by USDA

Following our email this week, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the early agricultural developments in the U.S. as we celebrate Independence Day.

18th century Oxen and horses for power, crude wooden plows, all sowing by hand, cultivating by hoe, hay and grain cutting with sickle, and threshing with flail
1790’s Cradle and scythe introduced
1797 Charles Newbold patented first cast-iron plow
1819 Jethro Wood patented iron plow with interchangeable parts 1819-25 U.S. food canning industry established
1830 About 250-300 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (5 acres) of wheat with walking plow, brush harrow, hand broadcast of seed, sickle, and flail
1834 McCormick reaper patented, John Lane began to manufacture plows with steel saw blades 1837 John Deere & Leonard Andrus manufactured steel plows, threshing machine patented 1840’s The growing use of factory-made agricultural machinery increased farmers’ need for cash, birthing commercial farming
1842 First grain elevator, Buffalo, NY 1844 Practical mowing machine patented
1849 Mixed chemical fertilizers sold commercially
1850 About 75-90 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels of corn (2-1/2 acres) with walking plow, harrow, and hand planting
1854 Self-governing windmill perfected
1868 Steam tractors were tried out
1870’s Silos came into use, and deep-well drilling first widely used
1874 Glidden barbed wire patented, fencing of rangeland ending unrestricted, open-range grazing
1880 William Deering put 3,000 twine binders on the market
1884-90 Horse-drawn combine used in Pacific coast wheat areas
1890-95 Cream separators came into wide use
1890-99 Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 1,845,900 tons
1890 35-40 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (2-1/2 acres) of corn with 2-bottom gang plow, disk and peg-tooth harrow, and 2-row planter, but 40-50 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (5 acres) of wheat with gang plow, seeder, harrow, binder, thresher, wagons, and horses
1900-1910 George Washington Carver, director of agricultural research at Tuskegee Institute, pioneered in finding new uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans, thus helping to diversify southern agriculture.
1910-15 Big open-geared gas tractors came into use in areas of extensive farming
1910-19 Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 6,116,700 tons
1915-20 Enclosed gears developed for tractor
1920-29 Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 6,845,800 tons
1920-40 Gradual increase in farm production resulted from expanded use of mechanized power 1926 Successful light tractor developed
1930-39 Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 6,599,913 tons
1930’s All-purpose, rubber-tired tractor with complementary machinery came into wide use 1930 One farmer supplied 9.8 persons in the United States and abroad
1930 15-20 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (2-1/2 acres) of corn with 2-bottom gang plow, 7-foot tandem disk, 4-section harrow, and 2-row planters, cultivators, and pickers 1940-49 Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 13,590,466 tons
1940 One farmer supplied 10.7 persons in the United States and abroad
1941-45 Frozen foods popularized
1942 Spindle cotton picker produced
1945-70 Change from horses to tractors and the adoption of a group of technological practices characterized the second American agriculture agricultural revolution
1945 10-14 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (2 acres) of corn with tractor, 3-bottom plow, 10-foot tandem disk, 4-section harrow, 4-row planters and cultivators, and 2-row picker
1950-59 Average annual consumption of commercial fertilizer: 22,340,666 tons
1954 Number of tractors on farms exceeded the number of horses and mules for first time