Agriculture and the Recent “Benign Climate” in Minnesota

Donald G. Baker
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David L. Ruschy
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Richard H. Skaggs
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A little noticed but remarkably consistent and agriculturally favorable climatic period existed for approximately 18 years, beginning in the mid-1950s in the U.S. Corn Belt and perhaps even earlier in Minnesota. The full application of technology to agriculture was delayed due to world political events (World War II and the Korean conflict, for example) until the 1950s. From then until about 1974, the interaction between this favorable climatic period and the applied technology and the enthusiasm they engendered in agricultural circles were subtle and unrealized factors that helped lead to the agricultural inflation of the 1970s, while the unexpected and generally unrecognized cessation of the “benign” climate must be considered as a factor leading to the agricultural depression in the 1980s

*Soil Science Department, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota.

+Geography Department, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

A little noticed but remarkably consistent and agriculturally favorable climatic period existed for approximately 18 years, beginning in the mid-1950s in the U.S. Corn Belt and perhaps even earlier in Minnesota. The full application of technology to agriculture was delayed due to world political events (World War II and the Korean conflict, for example) until the 1950s. From then until about 1974, the interaction between this favorable climatic period and the applied technology and the enthusiasm they engendered in agricultural circles were subtle and unrealized factors that helped lead to the agricultural inflation of the 1970s, while the unexpected and generally unrecognized cessation of the “benign” climate must be considered as a factor leading to the agricultural depression in the 1980s

*Soil Science Department, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota.

+Geography Department, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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