George Washington, Farmer

Location: Marker can be reached from the intersection of George Washington Memorial Parkway (at milepost 1) and Stratford Lane, on the right when traveling east.

City/State: Alexandria, Virginia

Categories: Agriculture, Colonial Era, Notable Persons

One of the most progressive farmers of his day, George Washington believed America’s future depended on improvements in agriculture. From 1754-1799, he worked to improve his farming methods at Mount Vernon. Abandoning tobacco, which depleted the soil, Washington made wheat his major crop. He exchanged information through extensive correspondence with like-minded farmers around the country and abroad.

(Photo Caption) Detail from Washington as a Farmer at Mount Vernon, Junius Brutus Stearns, 1851

(Copy Next to Map) Washington’s accomplishments included experimenting with approximately 60 different crops, introducing mules to farm labor in the United States, and testing crop rotation and fertilizers for soil improvement. ¶ President Washington drew this 1793 map of his approximately 8,000 acres. About 200 slaves and others worked the farms. Each of the five farms had its own animals, equipment, buildings, living quarters, and woods for fences.

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