Failure of Soviet Agriculture

Soloviev: Hybrid Seeds are the Rule for High Corn Harvests! (1956)http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&show=images&SubjectID=1961corn&Year=1961&navi=byYear
Soloviev: Hybrid Seeds are the Rule for High Corn Harvests! (1956)http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&show=images&SubjectID=1961corn&Year=1961&navi=byYear

From early in his career, Khrushchev was a strong proponent of expanding agriculture in the Soviet Union. He was absolutely convinced that improved agriculture capabilities, and as a byproduct of surplus, better living conditions, would help socialism defeat capitalism in the world economy. His quest for better agriculture even sent him to the United States where he toured American farms. His proposal of the Virgin Lands Campaign, an agricultural revival aimed at increasing the amount of feed for livestock, was a success within the party. It was not long after the implementation of the Virgin Lands Campaign that he began pushing for more agricultural reforms, this time as the Corn Campaign.

Just like the Virgin Lands Campaign, the Corn Campaign focused on increasing the amount of farm-able land in the Soviet Union for crops to be used as fodder for livestock. Soviet corn production barely existed in the Soviet Union prior to 1962. A contemporary writes that of a production goal of 1,000 tons of frozen corn, only 39 tons were produced in 1961. The Corn Campaign, like its predecessor, enjoyed early but short success.

The Corn Campaign, just like the Virgin Lands Campaign, was a short lived success. Ultimately, both campaigns devastated the land on which they took place. The Soviets did not use any modern agricultural techniques, like crop rotation. This led to destructive results that eventually only hurt Russia’s initiatives to improve its agricultural output.

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One Response to Failure of Soviet Agriculture

  1. seeingred says:

    It’s unfortunate that Khrushchev’s many ideas of agricultural reform did not work out in the end. His Virgin Lands and Corn campaign would have benefited the people of the Soviet Union by giving average families more food for meals while also benefiting the farmers by giving them an increased role in society, one that they had not experienced during Stalin’s reign. I wonder if the campaigns had succeeded long term, if Khrushchev’s reputation would have been saved.

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