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  • The Corn Campaign

    Posted on November 3rd, 2014 katiewells9 8 comments

    The 1960s brought with them a multitude of agricultural and economic changes beginning with the realization that in order to improve anything, the Soviets needed to grow more crops to feed the livestock. Nikita Khrushchev stated in 1954, “There will be no communism if our country has as much metal and cement as you like but meat and grain are in short supply.” He hit the nail on the head with that statement, showing a change in Soviet leadership and priorities. Thus began the corn campaign.

    Soloviev: Hybrid Seeds are the Rule for High Corn Harvests! (1956) Source: International Poster Gallery. 1998.

    Soloviev: Hybrid Seeds are the Rule for High Corn Harvests! (1956)
    Source: International Poster Gallery. 1998.

    Khrushchev made use of every opportunity to make corn the official fodder crop; including importing seed corn from the United States, establishing a corn research institute in the Ukraine, a new scientific journal titled Corn, a Corn Pavilion, and an increase of hectares of corn.

    Besides making use of these tactics, culinary experts created over 50 recipes with corn as an ingredient to increase production and purchase of it. Corn was becoming a vital aspect of Soviet life, but at what cost?

    Although Khrushchev’s original plan was smart, it was not executed properly. Instead of “concentrating on more efficient methods of cultivating, fertilizing, and mechanically harvesting corn, Soviet agricultural authorities continued to expand corn acreage to areas lacking in appropriate climatic conditions and sufficient labor supplies.” The Soviet’s made unreasonable estimates of production that were never fulfilled.

     

    Life Magazine: The Cornball Act Down on the Farm (1959) Khrushchev visit to an American corn farm, with a goal of bolstering his program against Soviet critics, attracted considerable attention in the United States as well.

    Life Magazine: The Cornball Act Down on the Farm (1959)
    Khrushchev visit to an American corn farm, with a goal of bolstering his program against Soviet critics, attracted considerable attention in the United States as well.

    According to D. Korolev, Russian Republic First Deputy Minister of Trade, “The production plan for fresh frozen corn was 1,000 tons, and 39 tons were produced. There were no valid reasons for the nonfulfillment of the plan.” These insufficiencies damaged the Soviet agriculture and Khrushchev’s reputation as a wise leader.

    Although corn was not succeeding as well as had been hoped, other crops were doing better. “Party and economic agencies are carrying out substantial work on improving the utilization of irrigated lands, specializing the farms, furnishing excavating equipment and vehicles and irrigation equipment, and training cadres of equipment operators and irrigation workers on the collective and state farms,” said P. Shelest in 1964. “Today great efforts are being exerted to raise the yield of all agricultural crops by 1965 and to ensure a sharp upsurge in animal husbandry.”

    The agricultural increase in the 1960s was a step in the right direction for the Soviets and what they were trying to accomplish during that time. They had all of the right ideas, but when it came to executing them they lacked the right methods.

     

    8 responses to “The Corn Campaign” RSS icon

    • This post along with our class discussion highlights how foreign corn it is to other countries. Since America has utilized corn since its origin, I had never given much thought on its international influence and recent introduction.

    • As I also did my blog on the corn campaign, much of this was quite similar to what I posted. However, it was interesting to see how corn was being forced into Russian diets through the creation of even more recipes involving corn. The whole “kale” thing certainly comes to mind after reading this…

    • The Soviet Union never fails to amaze me. They want to literally control everything. Even when it comes to the diet of their people. That aside, Corn was and is a good crop to plant in order to feed livestock and people because it has been bread to be disease and drought resistant for many years.

    • You had a very good intro to this blog post. I think its kind of sad how throughout most of Russian history they have struggled to feed all of its population. You’d think by the 1960’s they would have figured out a sustainable and realistic plan to feed the masses. You also had good quotes to support your information.

    • Good post. Much like annapope, I hadn’t given corn much thought as an unfamiliar crop internationally since it’s so prevalent in America. We’re so used to eating corn flakes, popcorn, corn syrup (which is used in practically everything), etc. in our society. However, I find it really interesting to note how the Soviets had to market corn to be more appealing to the people and practically forced it into their diets.

    • I find it interesting on just how determined the Soviets were to grow something as simple as corn. They had to know that they were expanding into land that was hardly arable and did not have the labor to harvest what was grown, yet they still claim that they did not know how they only managed to produce 39 of the 1,000 required tons of frozen corn. Is it a result of ignorance, or Soviet arrogance?

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