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GLOBAL AGRICULTURE : The Best and the Biggest

August 30, 1994

Ernest Hausen of Fort Atkinson, Wis., set a world record when he plucked a chicken in 4.4 seconds on Jan. 19, 1939. His record remains unbroken.

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Moonlight Mushrooms Inc. of Pennsylvania owns the world's largest mushroom farm. Founded in 1937, the farm has more than 1,100 employees who work in a maze of underground galleries 156 miles long. The farm produces over 54 million mushrooms per year.

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The world's largest chicken farm, owned by Agrigeneral Co. in Ohio, has 4.8 million hens laying about 3.7 million eggs a day.

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Big Bertha, a Dremon cow owned by Jerome O'leary of Blakwatersbridge, Ireland, was the world's oldest cow when she died in December, 1993 at the age of 49. Bertha also held the lifetime breeding record of 39 calves.

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The higest price ever paid for a pig was $56,000. Bud, a cross-bred barrow, was sold in Texas in 1983.

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The worlds's largest pig farm is located 10 miles north of Zagreb in Croatia. The farm processes 300,000 pigs a year.

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Michael Priestley and Marcus Stanley of Heckington Young Farmers Club hold the world record for the fastest bale rolling. In June, 1989, Priestley Stanley rolled a cylindrical bale nearly four feet wide over a 164-foot course in Sleaford, Britain. Their record time was 18.06 seconds.

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Clearwater Rice Inc. in Clearbrook, Minn. is home to the world's largest wild rice farm. In 1986, the farm, which covers 2,000 acres, produced 577,000 pounds of wild rice, the largest yearly yield to date.

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The largest sheep ranch in the world is Australia's Commonwealth Hill, which grazes between 50,000 and 70,000 sheep a year in an area that covers 4,080 square miles. The ranch is enclosed by 138 miles of dog-proof fencing.

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The fastest time for producing a baker's dozen loaves of bread from growing wheat is 12 minutes 11 seconds. The 13 loaves were produced by representatives from the villages of Clapham and Patching in England on Aug. 23, 1992 with the aid of microwave ovens.

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The largest farms in the world were collective farms in the former Soviet Union. Units of more than 60,000 acres were not uncommon.

Source: "The Guinness Book of Records", 1994 edition.

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