Who was the first leader of the Soviet Union to visit the Unites States of America? That’s right it was Nikita Khrushchev along with his family, even his son-in-law Alexei Adzhubei back in 1959, from September 15th to the 27th of the same month. And Khrushchev saw all the sights to see in America, he visited the White House obviously and Camp David too, but he also went to many major cities. He and his family visited the major cultural centers of New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, being met by the mayors of each respective city and even Eleanor Roosevelt in New York. There were also visits to Pittsburgh and Des Moines Iowa, with the trip to Pittsburgh being that Khrushchev wanted to see the steel industry there and Des Moines because of the meat-packing businesses located there. Now there were two other towns that Khrushchev visited: Beltsville Maryland and Coon Rapids Iowa, these seemed to be the odd balls of the list of places that Khrushchev saw in America. Beltsville isn’t so strange since it’s only about half an hour away from the White House and it was home to an Agricultural Experiment Station. But Coon Rapids, Iowa, what could be so interesting to Khrushchev in Coon Rapids? Apparently corn and a man named Roswell Garst.
There needs to be a little bit of background information to understand why Khrushchev would be so interested in corn and Garst. First off state enforced rationing in the Soviet Union didn’t end until 1947 and Khrushchev gains power in 1953, so there’s a major reason for Khrushchev wanting to improve the quality of life in the Soviet Union. Second, Khrushchev’s visit to Coon Rapids wasn’t his first time meeting Garst, Garst had been in the Soviet Union before in 1955 trying to sell his corn. The reason that Garst was in the Soviet Union at this time was because of a sort of agricultural exchange program between the United States and the Soviet Union. As for Khrushchev’s interest in corn, he viewed it as a way to supplement the overall meat production. Corn would be used as a feed crop for cattle, corn fed cattle usually grew larger and a larger cow means more meat.
This new Corn Campaign, along with the Virgin Lands Campaign, were implemented to provide more food for the Soviet Union. The Corn Campaign was a success, for the first two years but Soviet farmers soon discovered that corn was not really suited for their land. The first two years were largely a success because of unusually hot weather which was favorable for growing corn.
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