First in war, primero en paz, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.

How about first in farming?

Id love to add that label to George Washington, if only I could revise and extend the famousquote from theelogiodeliveredin 1799byLight-Horse Harry Lee.

A medida que nos acercamos al Día de los Presidentes el lunes, feb. 18and Washingtons owncumpleañoson Feb. 22mythoughts turn to this Founding Father. He was possibly the greatest American inourhistory. He helped the United States win its independence from Great Britain and thenheserved two terms as our first president.

Biographers have hailed him as everything froma modern Cincinnatus (Garry Wills) to His Excellency (Joseph J. Ellis)to The Indispensible Man (James Thomas Flexner).

I like to think of him as ourAgricultor fundador.

Thats partly because Im a farmer, too.GeorgeWashington even grew alfalfa, which is what Iraisehere in the southeastern corner ofwait for itthe state of Washington.

De vuelta en el siglo 18,agriculturewas Americas top economic activity. YetWashington stood out as a pioneer.

At firsthe grew tobacco, asdidmanyof his fellowVirginians. Sin embargo, también vio cómo el tabaco agota el suelo.. Rather than letting fields deteriorate and moving onto other pasturesa standard practice among tobacco growers back thenWashingtonbecame an early adopter of compost. He alsobegan to use alfalfain his seven-crop rotation plan.

Esto fue una innovación, and it worked.Alfalfa injected nitrogen into the soil, manteniéndolo saludable para futuras temporadas. Washington couldnt have explained the chemistry, but hesawthe result. Él era un agricultor sostenible antes de que la agricultura sostenible fuera genial.

Finalmente, Washington se mudó a los granos. aquí, también, adoptó nuevas técnicas. Tourists at Mount Vernon todaycan visit a reconstruction of his 16-sidedpisando granero, a labor-saving machine that allowedhimto move away from threshing wheat by hand. En lugar, horses walkedin circles and stompedthe wheat, cuyas semillas luego cayeron a través de tablillas de piso y en un granero.

Washington también mantuvo registros extensos. Los historiadores saben mucho sobre lo que él creció y dónde lo hizo., but Washington wasnt thinking about posterity. Estudió sus resultados, Siempre tratando de aprender lo más posible sobre el rendimiento de los cultivos y los campos.. Otros agricultores hicieron esto también, but Washington was among theearliest to expose himself to the rigor of analysis. Siempre intentaba mejorar.

These same records also tell us abouthis exploitationof other people.At leastWashingtoncame to understandthe injustice ofesclavitud. His will granted freedom to the African Americans he held in bondagea moral advance that too few of his countrymen followed.

Ivevisited Mount Vernonseveral times over the years. Una vez, temprano en la mañana, I hada chanceto walk inside histumba, que normalmente está detrás de una puerta cerrada. I set my hand on his marble sarcophagusand stood there insilentawe.

I wish I could have told him how much he meant to meas a fellow farmer.Id also want him to knowhow far weve come with mechanization,genetics, and global trade.The changes would amaze him. He might marvel most of all atourability to sell what we grow tocustomersaroundthe world. TheDeclaración de la independencia, después de todo, complains about the tyranny of cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world.

Si él estuviera por aquí ahora, hed probably still farm.I can almost picture himdrivinga combine harvesteracrossa field of genetically modified corn or soybeans.Hed track his progress by GPS, Recopilación de datos para su revisión posterior. Hed listen to the radio, hopeful aboutcommoditypricesandworried aboutour trade war with China.Instead of wearing a tri-corner hat, hed sport a John Deere baseball cap.

Detras de todo,our Founding Farmer would recognize a few things that farmers share, no importa cuando vivan: el deseo de nuevas tecnologías, la necesidad de mercados estables, y un compromiso con el progreso agrícola.

Esta columna apareció por primera vez en febrero 13 atAgri-Pulse.