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Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin
(1904)

Chapter IV: The dairy industry,   pp. 176-184 PDF (1.8 MB)


Page 176


17 6     BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN.
                       CHAPTER IW.
                   THE DAIRY INDUSTRY.
  As in most new countries, dairying in Wisconsin was slow in
getting a start. The first American settlers almost invariably
brought one or two cows with them and were thus more or less
well supplied with milk and butter. The foreigners just as in-
variably brought no cows, and it was often some years before they
were able to buy them. As a consequence butter was always
scarce and usually dear throughout the first twenty years, unless
it was for a few weeks during midsummer, when the weather
would riot permit the producer either to ship or hold it for a better
market.
  A glance at the prices paid S makes it clear that a single pound
of marketable butter was often worth more in Madison than a
bushel of wheat, yet with a small investment in cows it was en-
tirely possible to turn the produce of an acre into seventy-five
pounds of butter instead of eight or ten bushels of wheat, and
the cash outlay for maintaining the dairy after once it was started
was not equal to the expense of raising wheat. In spite of these
possibilities, and they were thoroughly tested,8' butter and cheese
were shipped from other states to Wisconsin even as late as i86o,
while for half or more of the farmers to buy butter, cheese, and
even milk was so common as to excite no comment.8' The usual
answer to the query, why was this so, is that farmers were too
poor to buy cows and build barns; they had no good place for
'eSee table at the end of this chapter: prices of wheat at the end of the
chap-
ter on wheat.
  KTrars. State Agr'Z Soc., 1,.239: 111, 50: Pat. Office Rept. Agriculture,
1852-
53, 329.
"Wssconsin State Journal, August 22, 1857.
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