Weighing Milk, c. 1940

Historical Context
New York is the nation's third-largest producer of dairy products, and milk is New York's leading agricultural product. Dairy farms can be found all across the state. The dairy industry accounts for one-half of the state's agricultural receipts. In 2004, New York produced 11.7 billion pounds of dairy products, worth $1.95 billion.
Essential Question
How does industrialization change a society?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and evaluate the impact of industrialization on these workers and their local community.
[click to enlarge]
Dept. of Agriculture milk inspector and farm workers in barn, New York State Archives, NYSA_14457-86_B1_milkinspector
Document Description
Department of Agriculture milk inspector weighs milk in a barnand a farmer milks a cow, circa 1940.
  1. What are the men on the left side of the photograph doing?
  2. What is the man on right side of the photograph doing?
  3. What are the jugs with hoses used for?
  4. Do they make milking easier?
  5. Based on this picture and what you know, what are some difficulties of dairy farming?
Historical Challenge
New York is the nation's third largest dairy producer. What other states are in the top ten? Graph the top ten by production and make a key.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: A cow on Farmer Brown’s dairy farm can produce 1 pint a day of milk. How many cows would be needed to produce 1 gallon of milk?
Science: What kind of scale is being used in this picture? How does this scale work? Who invented it?
English Language Arts: Write a daily schedule for a dairy worker.
  1. Kalman, Bobbie. Hooray for Dairy Farming. Crabtree Publishing Company, November 1997. ISBN: 0865056641
  2. Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Farmer Boy. HarperCollins Children's Books, May 1976. ISBN: 0064400034
  3. Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Winter on a Farm. HarperCollins Children's Books, September 1997. ISBN: 006440692X
  4. Fowler, Allan. If it Weren't for Farmers. Scholastic Library Publishing, March 1994. ISBN: 0516460099
  5. Gish, Melissa. Dairy Farm. Smart Apple Media, January 2004. ISBN: 1583403256