Historians credit repeated locust invasions in the nineteenth century with reshaping United States agriculture west of the Mississippi River. Admonished by government entomologists, farmers began to diversify. Wheat had come to nearly monopolize the region, but it was particularly vulnerable to the locusts. In 1873, just before the locusts’ most withering offensive, nearly two-thirds of Minnesota farmland was producing wheat; by the invasions’ last year, that fraction had dropped to less than one-sixth. Farmers learned that peas and beans were far less vulnerable to the insects, and corn was a more robust grain than wheat. In addition to planting alternative crops, many farmers turned to dairy and beef production. Although pastures were often damaged by the locusts, these lands were almost always left in better shape than the crops were.

  For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that apply.

  1. According to the passage, before the recommendations by the government entomologists, which of the following was true about farming west of the Mississippi River?

  A. Farmers focused primarily on growing wheat.

  B. Peas and beans had not yet been planted in the region.

  C. A relatively small portion of farmland was devoted to crops other than wheat.

  2. In the context in which it appears, “robust” (line 8) most nearly means

  A. crude

  B. demanding

  C. productive

  D. vigorous

  E. rich



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