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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin
(1925)

Chapter XI: agriculture,   pp. 71-73


Page 71

CHAPTER XI
AGRICULTURE
Most of the pioneer settlers in Dunn County were attracted to this region by
the opportunities for steady employment in the lumber industry, though there
were a few, even in the early 60's, who took homesteads and began to build up
farms. Some of these settled on prairie land in the vicinity of Colfax, and are
mentioned personally in connection with the history of that village.
With the clearing away of the timber the number of farmers increased, coming
here from various places, even as far as New England. Many of them-undoubt-
edly a majority-worked for a part of the time at lumbering, either in the woods,
on the river, or in the mills, to earn money for current expenses, for few of them had
any capital except what they gained by such labor, and there were many who settled
on lands with the idea of farming when they had not more than a dollar or two in
their pockets. In such cases they put up a hastily built shack or log hut, with a
straw-roofed barn for their cow or oxen, installed their families- -if they were
married-and then went into the woods as lumberjacks, which they remained for
years, improving their farms as they found opportunity.
It took hardy men, and women, too, to endure the hardships of such an existence,
and there were few others who tried it. The labor of tree-felling, grubbing, or
extracting the stumps of the cut timber, breaking the soil, and building houses and
barns, in places remote from any depot of supplies, and sometimes far from even
the roughest kind of a road, was not such as to attract the soft-handed or pleasure-
loving habitant of the cities, accustomed to the conveniences of civilization. It
was work that took strong hands and a stout heart, endowed with a plentiful
stock of patience and endurance, and it was by such men-lumberjacks and farmers
that the foundations of Dunn County's wealth and prosperity were laid.
Dunn County has evolved agriculturally into one of the richest areas in Northern
Wisconsin. Dairying is the branch of farming that is now most favored, and a
tour through the districts contiguous to Menomonie, as well as in many other parts
of the county, invariably surprises the traveler by the character of the farm houses
which it reveals. According to recent figures the equalized property valuation in
Dunn County is over 851,000,000, the greater part of which is on the farms that have
Menomonie as their trading center. Other available figures show the value of the
dairy products shipped from Dunn County to be 85,100,000 for one year. Wiscon-
sin is known as the greatest dairy state in the Union, and Dunn County ranks fourth
among the 71 counties in the state in the output of butter, which in one year from
the 18 creameries now operating amounted to 8,000,000 pounds, valued at 84,-
000,000. Each of these creameries contributed its share to the reputation Wis-
consin butter enjoys for quality throughout the world.
The combined output of the three creameries located in and near Menomonie,
namely, those operated by the New Hudson Road, Rusk ,and Downsville co-opera-
tive creameries last year (1924) reached the enormous amount of 5,000,000 pounds
of butter. The cash receipts of these same plants for the year amounted in round
numbers to $2,500,000.
Dunn County has seven cheese factories also, making approximately 1,000,000
pounds of cheese annually. The increase in the number of fine dairy cows has
accounted for the banner years in production, there being 45,100 dairy cows in the
county, 20,000 cows have had "C. T. A." records.
Much of this progress must be credited to The Dunn County School of Agricul-
ture and Domestic Economy, which for the last 23 years or more has been a potent
influence in educating the farmers and inducing them to adopt scientific methods.
Many farmers are interested in the raising of pure bred cattle, the breeds most
favored being the Holstein-Friesian, Guernsey, Jersey, Ayrshire, Shorthorn, Here-
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