The spectacular success of agriculture is one of our nation's most significant accomplishments. For more than a century, this sector of the American economy has been characterized by innovative solutions that have set the standard for agriculture worldwide.
Last month, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History announced an important initiative to preserve for future generations a record of the nation's agricultural heritage and in particular document innovation on its farms.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is calling on Iowa farmers to learn about this project and consider lending a hand to it.
"Throughout our state's history, Iowa has been a leader in innovation and the development of new technologies to help our farmers better care for their crops and livestock and be more productive," Northey said in a statement released early this month. "It is important these stories are preserved for future generations, so I encourage Iowans to learn more and consider participating in the project."
Information about the undertaking is available on the Internet at americanhistory.si.edu/agheritage.
According to the Smithsonian's announcement about the endeavor, the museum is creating an Agricultural Innovation and Heritage Archive. As part of that effort it is "reaching out to farmers, ranchers and American agri-business to preserve America's agricultural heritage and build a collection that reflects modern agricultural practices. Curators are seeking stories, photographs and ephemera to record and preserve the innovations and experiences of farming and ranching."
The history of American agriculture would be incomplete without a major focus on Iowa's central role in this facet of the nation's economy. Consequently, it is crucial that Iowans respond strongly to this request for input.
"American agriculture has gone through a tremendous transformation in the past seven decades, becoming a high-tech industry, deeply affecting not just farmers themselves but every American and the American experience in general," said Peter Liebhold, a curator and chair, Division of Work and Industry, at the Smithsonian, in a statement released by the organization.
The Messenger agrees and applauds this exciting effort by the Smithsonian. Iowans should help make this worthwhile venture a dramatic success story.