Icon of Agriculture:|
The development and use of gasoline-powered tractors in the early 1900s helped change the business of American farming. Turning away from animal power and labor-intensive production, farmers modernized their rural operations, seeking the efficiency, size, and use of machines typical of urban factories.
Fuel Versus Feed:
Horses eat 365 days a year; tractors consume fuel only when running. Abandoning the use of animal power meant that farmers could grow cash crops on land once used for raising feed. It takes about six acres to grow enough food for a single horse.
It takes much effort to stay competitive, and often more change to become dominant. Evolutionary biologists call this the "Red Queen Hypothesis," named for the character in Through the Looking Glass. When applied to business, the idea reflects the uncertainty of adopting new inventions. Do US farmers risk bankruptcy to buy new machinery and run twice as fast, or stand still and go with tradition?