Trends in U.S. Agriculture

Cold Storage

Technological advances did not always involve machinery used in the production process. Changes in the way food is stored are another example of how technology has affected agriculture.

Refrigerated warehouses are facilities, artificially cooled to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, where food products are generally stored for 30 days or more. Nationally, refrigerated capacity totaled a record high 3.61 billion cubic feet (cu. ft.) in October 1999. This compares with only 585 million cu. ft. in October 1923.

Major factors contributing to the growth of the warehousing industry since the 1930's have included technological advances and improvements in equipment and transportation facilities, along with better knowledge of product handling procedures and the storage environment.

Wider consumer acceptance of the ever-growing variety of food marketed in a frozen state fostered tremendous demand for refrigerated space. The warehousing industry began to convert all or major portions of their cooler rooms into freezer rooms and to build new facilities in areas closer to points of production. Freezer space totaled a mere 115 million cu. ft. in 1923 and did not exceed 250 million cu. ft. until the late1940's. Exponential increases in freezer space started in the mid 1950's, climbing above 1 billion cubic feet in 1979 and 2 billion cubic feet in 1997.

Last Modified: 12/04/2017