1920s Steam & Farming in Iowa

Greene County farmer Nick Foster, who wound up his 24th annual steam threshing bee on his farm northwest of Jefferson in late July, will talk about 1920s agriculture at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church west of Churdan at 449 E. Ave, on Friday, Sept. 1. 

The program is sponsored by the Greene County Historical Society. Foster is the current board president of the society.

Foster and his son Chuck farm 1,500 acres, something they’re able to do using the latest in farm equipment.

That would have been impossible in the 1920s.

Today’s equipment—GPS (Global Positioning System), huge diesel tractors and multi-row planters that can be operated by one person—is a far cry from the steam equipment of the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries when many hands were needed to plant and harvest crops.

Foster’s program will include photos of 1920s farms, farmers and steam-powered equipment, as well as models of steam threshers plus other items. There will be time for questions and reminiscence.

Foster is a fourth-generation Greene County landowner, who began farming fulltime when he graduated from Jefferson-Scranton High School in 1980. The home place, Pleasant Prairie Farm, has been in his family since 1900. He also rents farm ground. 

Lunch will be served at noon before the free 12:45 p.m. program. Cost of lunch is $10. Please RSVP by Aug. 29. Call 515-386-4408 (History Society members may call their community contacts) to get a seat at the table.


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