Specialized Agriculture and Eastern Adjustments
WHILE the agricultural frontier was moving westward with more speed than ever before in the history of the country, farmers in the North Atlantic states often had to make adjustments quite as violent as those of the homesteaders on the Plains. The Easterners, for the most part, lived on farms that had been in the family for generations, and they knew the possibilities of the soil. But the higher price of an acre, the slight fertility of most acres, and a topography that compelled the breaking up of farms into fields hardly larger than a Western corral, unfitted the Eastern farmer for competition with the meat and cereal products coming from vastly larger, more fertile, and cheaper Western farms. Freight charges from the West were generally so high that the Atlantic coast farmer could still grow some animals and grain for strictly local consumption. But the growth of urbanization was so great that, even had the American West not existed, the Eastern farmers would have been totally incapable of meeting the demands. Like England, those states would have had to depend on newer farming areas in other parts of the world--assuming, of course, that urbanization would have been as great without the wealth of the West to draw on. Many adjustments to new conditions had been made before 1860. Already the centers of cereal production had shifted west of the Appalachians. But more new situations had to be faced in the next forty
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Publication information: Book title: The Farmer's Last Frontier: Agriculture, 1860-1897. Contributors: Fred A. Shannon - Author. Publisher: Farrar & Rinehart. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1945. Page number: 245.
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