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What is the Farmers' Almanac?

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  • Written By: L. Hepfer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2014
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The Farmers' Almanac, sometimes called the Old Farmers' Almanac, began publication in 1792. Being the oldest periodical published in North American history, it began a few years after a disastrous summer when farmers suffered and were unable to produce a large harvest that was due to the weather. For that very reason, The Farmers' Almanac is now famous for its ability to predict the weather for long periods of time.

The book includes astronomical dates and incorporates trivia and humor in it as well. It adds simple advice on things such as fishing, cooking and gardening. It promotes healthy living, conservation and simple core values in each edition. The Farmers' Almanac includes various recipes, and predicts technology and trends in fashion and home decor.

The weather predictions are supposedly made using a secret formula that has been passed on through the years but never told to anyone. Not only is the formula kept a secret, so is the weather forecaster. The secret formula is used in conjunction with different scientific calculations of various solar activity. Past weather records are analyzed and any certain patterns in weather are noticed and picked out.

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Most editions of The Farmers' Almanac include a section devoted to a "human interest crusade." This section of the book advocates a change in a common custom or practice and discusses it. Various subjects in past editions have included revising Daylight Saving Time, exercising more common courtesy on a daily basis, the possibility of eliminating the penny and replacing the dollar bill with dollar coins because they are cheaper to produce.

The Farmers' Almanac is published in Maine through the Almanac Publishing Company. It is released every year on the second Tuesday in September and is dated for the following year. The Almanac Publishing Company attests that the predictions inside The Farmers' Almanac have 80-85% accuracy of being true. Scientists have disagreed with those claims and argued that their predictions are no better than anything left to chance.

Meteorologists will sometimes refer to The Farmers' Almanac, comparing it to the current weather for fun. While it can be something to enjoy for fun, some people are superstitious and take it very seriously. Some people are known for consulting The Farmers' Almanac to see what the weather predictions are and rely on it heavily, basing their decisions for vacations or other plans in the coming year. In addition to the American version, there is also a Canadian version. Over the years, The Farmer's Almanac has gained national publicity and various editors have continued the legacy by keeping it on bookshelves everywhere.

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