Smithsonian seeks ag stories for farmer museum exhibition


WASHINGTON — No one knows how much agriculture has evolved and transformed over time better than America’s farmers. That’s why the Smithsonian National Museum of American History is seeking farmers’ help in telling stories of the innovation and experiences of farming and ranching across the U.S.

Farmers are invited to share their personal stories about the ways innovation and technology have helped to continually improve the industry at

Ag stories

The museum is currently seeking stories, photographs and other memorabilia to feature in its upcoming American Enterprise exhibition, which will paint the picture of American business through agriculture, consumer finance, information technology/communication, manufacturing and retail/service.

“Agriculture continually evolves and has become extremely efficient and sustainable with the help of new technologies,” says Sharon Covert, a farmer-leader on the United Soybean Board, which recently committed a $1 million investment in support of the exhibition.

“Sharing your stories and artifacts of agriculture’s transformations will allow the public to see incredible strides the industry has made in order to provide food, feed, fuel and fiber for the rest of the world.”


Submitted stories could be included in the exhibition or featured on the museum’s blog and social media sites. A few suggested themes include personal experiences, the effects of technology, or the roles of finance, competition, safety, animals, water or labor.

Scheduled to open in May 2015, this multimedia American Enterprise will capture the nation’s history of business spanning the mid-1700s to the present, highlighting agriculture and its many contributions to our economy.

“Growing up in the 1950s, I remember ‘walking the beans’ to remove weeds from the fields with a long-handled hoe,” says Covert in her story submission. “Now, we can spray that same field to remove the weeds and our soybeans are strong and vigorous.”


The development of American agriculture will be demonstrated through objects such as road signs related to no-till production and organic farming, a 1920s Fordson tractor and a computer cow tag and reader unit to show the change in dairy farming from an intensive hand-labor process to a modern computer-run operation.


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  1. A few years ago, I produced a 24-minute documentary titled, “American Agriculture: The Midwest 1920’s-1950’s”. The footage, pictures, and especially the valuable content of the numerous interviews – of individuals and married couples living and working in the Midwest during that time period – which I have included in the final film all apply quite appropriately to the themes of this project stated above. Would you like me to send a copy of my DVD?

    Thanks for your consideration,
    Brett Leyendekker


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