The initiator of the virgin land development program was N.S. Khrushchev. The development of virgin and fallow lands in 1954 began mainly with the creation of state farms. The development of virgin land began without any preliminary preparation, with the complete absence of infrastructure – roads, granaries, qualified personnel, not to mention housing and repair facilities for equipment. The natural conditions of the steppes were not taken into account: sandstorms and dry winds were not taken into account, sparing methods of soil treatment and grain varieties adapted to this type of climate were not developed. Huge resources were concentrated on the implementation of this project: in 1954-1961, virgin land absorbed 20% of all Soviet investments in agriculture. Because of this, the agrarian development of traditional Russian farming areas has been thoroughly slowed down.
The development of virgin land proceeded at an accelerated pace: if 13 million hectares were supposed to be plowed in two years, then in reality 35 million hectares were plowed. In 1954-1960, 41.8 million hectares of virgin land and deposits were raised. Only in the first two years 425 grain state farms were created on virgin land, agricultural giants were created later.
More than a million boys and girls have become virgin lands workers. In 1954-1955, over 350 thousand young people went on Komsomol vouchers to virgin areas. Only 20 thousand families from different regions of the USSR settled in Kazakhstan. Thousands of virgin lands workers were awarded orders and medals, the title of Hero of Socialist Labor.
The territory of Northern Kazakhstan has changed due to virgin development. Large enterprises, towns, cities have appeared, employment has increased, and people's living conditions have improved.
The development of virgin lands was also manifested in the names of settlements. In 1963 Ust-Uysky district of the Kurgan region was renamed Tselinny, and the village of Novo-Kocherdyk was renamed Tselinnoye village.
The first result of the development of virgin land was a sharp increase in agricultural production. If in 1954 85.5 million tons of grain were harvested in the USSR (27.1 million tons of them on virgin land), then in 1960 – 125 million tons (including 58.7 million tons on virgin land).
However, the development of virgin lands has had a negative impact on the nature of Siberia and Northern Kazakhstan. Tens of millions of hectares of various natural zones were destroyed, as well as territories of pastures and hayfields. Plowing of virgin land in river valleys led to soil erosion on the slopes. As a result of the impact of technology, there was a mass death of animals and plants, and the use of pesticides and fertilizers led to an increase in the population of rats and crows.