George Washington studied and implemented improved farming methods throughout his life. In fact, he thought of himself first as a farmer.

George Washington devoted his life to the improvement of American agriculture. While his initial interest in farming was driven by his own needs to earn a living and improve Mount Vernon, in later years Washington realized his leadership and experimentation could assist all American farmers. Initially growing tobacco as his cash crop, Washington soon realized that tobacco was not sustainable and he switched to grains, particularly wheat as a cash crop in 1766. Washington read the latest works on agriculture and implemented the new husbandry methods using a variety of fertilization methods and crop rotation plans on his five farms.

George Washington and Agriculture

George Washington and Agriculture

George Washington took an early interest in husbandry and agricultural improvement. Learn more about Washington’s desire to improve the state of American agriculture through careful experimentation.

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Field Labor

Field Labor

The majority of enslaved people at Mount Vernon were assigned to agricultural work on the plantation’s four outlying farms. Under the supervision of overseers, field hands toiled from sunrise to sunset, which could mean 14-hour days in the summer.

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A Day in the Life of an Enslaved Field Worker

"Every Labourer (male or female) does as much in the 24 hours as their strength without endangering the health, or constitution will allow of." - George Washington, 1789

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Dogue Run Farm

Dogue Run Farm

Learn how George Washington worked to develop the Dogue Run Farm - one of the five farms at Mount Vernon - into one of his most productive fields.

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