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Gard, Robert Edward / My land, my home, my Wisconsin : the epic story of the Wisconsin farm and farm family from settlement days to the present

Ahlgreen, Henry L.
Foreword PDF (834.9 KB)

     I am truly thankful and eternally grateful that
I had the good fortune of growing up at the time I
did and under the conditions that prevailed then.
After saying that, however, I must confess that I
didn't always feel that way at the time. I vividly
recall how I envied the youngsters in our small towns
who had much more freedom for extracurricular ac-
tivities and who were not subject to the vigorous
routine that characterized our life on the farm. Actu-
ally, I now feel it was the best preparation any young-
ster could have in shaping a career, which in my case
would be firmly rooted in agriculture for my entire
adult life.
    Now, as I look back along the road of my yester-
days, I know that more changes have occurred on our
farms and in our homes during my lifetime than in
all previous recorded history. The scientific method
and "book learnin' "-once looked upon with suspi-
cion, hostility, and skepticism-are now readily ac-
cepted and widely used in modern farming and home-
making. Their widespread acceptance and use on our
farms and in our homes have had the net effect of
shortening the workday and lightening the workload
of the farm family, increasing their purchasing pow-
er, elevating farming to the level of a profession, and
giving young people on farms better educational,
social, and business opportunities. Science and tech-
nology have helped our farmers and homemakers at-
tain a position in our society that cannot be matched
by their counterparts in any other part of the world.
And beyond our farms, they have helped to raise the
standard of living of all the people of our state.
    The pioneers who conquered the wilderness
played a major role in helping to shape the tomorrow
of what is now rural Wisconsin. They "built yester-
day for today and tomorrow," and they did it exceed-
ingly well.
    I am heartened by the number of young people
who are remaining on farms or who are moving to
them because they believe that farming provides the
base for the kind of life they want for themselves
and their children. I venture to predict that farm
life will provide them the same deep satisfactions
and opportunities for development that they did for
me in my growing-up years.
                                   Henry L. Ahlgren
                                 Chancellor Emeritus
                     University of Wisconsin-Extension

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