Life on the farm

  • Theme - Agriculture
  • Year - 1948
  • Location - Rouen
  • Filmmaker - Robert Wetzel


This is a clip of a longer piece. To see more of this film please visit the website of our cross channel partner, Pole Image Haute-Normandie at

This is life on the farm in Lyons-la-Foret, to the east of Rouen. Men unload a cart overflowing with freshly tied wheat bundles. The straw is immediately put into a mixer, powered by a pulley connected to a tractor. It breaks the wheat heads and enables the grains to be recovered. A woman and her daughter tend to the cows and the dairy. During this time, many farm animals - ducks, chickens, chicks, lamb, foal, horse, sheep – quietly come to life. Despite the black and white images which are a little streaked, the film accurately portrays life in the country after the war

"1949, * The Second World War was a period of relative prosperity for the Normandy countryside, considering the food shortages in the towns. Some farmers became even wealthier, thanks to the black market which existed after the War, with ration cards still in operation until 1949.

* The entry of France into the common market, the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy from 1962, at the heart of the “Thirty Glorious Years” (period of economic growth) there were new, major transformations in the Upper Normandy countryside : agriculture became more focused on productivity and performance when faced with foreign competition (gradual demise of customs duties), the population increased, and there was an increasing lack of agricultural manpower. Mechanisation progressed further still (the tractor became widespread in the 1950s) ; the arrival of electricity enabled new innovations (electric milkers….). Cultivated land continued to decrease in favour of permanent grassland, as well as infrastructures (roads, industry) and urbanisation (individual housing lots on the outskirts of towns). The increase of productivity also resulted in the increased usage of fertiliser and phytosanitary products, in the progress of genetics for breeding, and in the rise of cooperatives (equipped with effective farming equipment)."

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