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  • Originally published 07/18/2013

    Europe's first farmers used manure 8,000 years ago

    A new study says Europe's first farmers used far more sophisticated practices than was previously thought. A research team led by the University of Oxford has found that Neolithic farmers manured and watered their crops as early as 6,000 BC.It had always been assumed that manure wasn't used as a fertiliser until Iron Age and Roman times. However, this new research shows that enriched levels of nitrogen-15, a stable isotope abundant in manure, have been found in the charred cereal grains and pulse seeds taken from 13 Neolithic sites around Europe. The findings are published in the early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study suggests that Neolithic farmers used the dung from their herds of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs as a slow release fertiliser for crops....

  • Originally published 01/15/2013

    National Museum of American History seeks help building collection showing farm innovations

    WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History working with farmers to build a new collection showing the evolution of modern agriculture.The museum announced Monday that it’s working with the American Farm Bureau Federation to collect items that reflect innovation in farming and ranching over the past 70 years. Curators are seeking stories, photographs and objects for a future exhibition.The first donation was announced by a Tennessee farmer at the farm bureau’s annual meeting in Nashville. A multigenerational dairy will donate a computer cow tag system and photographs to show how the dairy became a modernized operation.The museum will open a web portal in March to collect stories and photographs online....