Industrializing Agriculture

Agriculture was Catalonia’s main source of wealth, without downplaying the essential role of its industry. The Mancomunitat of Catalonia carried forward important actions in order to establish the Technical Agriculture Services together with the Agricultural School.

It also promoted herding activities by organizing livestock competitions and by selecting wild species.

School of Agriculture

It was created by the Diputació of Barcelona in 1911 and, later on, it was transferred to the Mancomunitat. It arose from the need to generalize technical approaches to agricultural practices.

The Council of the Mancomunitat gave special importance to these studies because it would be engineers who would lead the progressive evolution of agriculture in Catalonia. Studies were divided into two degrees: a higher one (agricultural engineer, five years), and a more practical one (agricultural technician, two years plus one optional year).

  • Agricultural engineer degree
    It encompassed a thorough instruction on all things related to agriculture, from basic science instruction to practical applications. This degree was divided into five years, and applicants needed to be at least 15 years old, and had to pass an admissions test. Students were expected to work on a final project, usually a paper that would talk about some agriculture related topic of their choosing in detail.
  • Agricultural technician degree
    It was intended for providing practical knowledge on fundamental principles. It lasted for a minimum of two years, with one extra possible year.
  • Special short seminars
    These seminars had two main features: on the one hand they dealt with well defined scientific subjects, and on the other hand, they centered around specialized subject matter, preferably with practical applications.
  • Classes by mail
    These gave farmers who wanted to expand their knowledge but who could not move to the city a chance to study. However, there were short seminars organized annually.


Technical School of Agriculture

  • General organization
    Educational tasks were divided between studying agricultural topics pertaining to each section, and staying in touch with farmers in order to provide advice and help them increase land production. Through the various sections a series of conferences was organized at the request of towns and agricultural associations. On the other hand, campaigns were organized to share new farming techniques, better and less expensive practices than the ones used regularly, and ways to fight the most prevalent plagues. The different sections were hayfield maintenance services, fruit tree services, grapevine and winemaking services, plant diseases lab, agricultural school for applied mechanics, and agricultural cooperation. Labs were used for all kinds of tests sent by the various sections belonging to the extension service and to the public at large.
  • Forest service
    One of the first problems encountered by the Mancomunitat in the field of agriculture was the selection of species—they would end up trying over seventy different ones. Therefore, it created a Commission for Reforestation in order to study and make the proposals it deemed necessary for land tract reforestation.
  • Animal husbandry
    Animal husbandry began to be formally studied in our country in 1912 with the creation of an animal care chair at the Barcelona Agricultural School. After the Mancomunitat of Catalonia was established, it would take care of animal breeds, and it commissioned a study to determine the different breeds for classification and use. Also, it is worth mentioning the various projects that were undertaken in order to improve the different breeds. Animal husbandry studies took place at the Animal Husbandry School, in the studies connected with the Agricultural School, and in classes by mail.



Sign of farm animal competitions at Seu d’Urgell, canceled by the Guardia Civil.


Photo with students at a seminar on milking cow characteristics.


Map by the agricultural cooperation service.


Milking cow contest in the Plain of Vic.

Photographs from the book L’obra realitzada: anys 1914-1923 / Mancomunitat de Catalunya (Works completed: Years 1914-23 / Mancomunitat of Catalonia)
Author: Mancomunitat of Catalunya.
Year of publication: 1923.