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

Chapter II: Hops,   pp. 149-154 PDF (1.3 MB)

Page 149

                          CHAPTER II.
  The first break in the monotonous round of wheat culture in
Wisconsin came with the brief but exciting period of hop grow-
ing. For nearly thirty years the farmer had gone over the dis-
mal routine of plowing. sowing, and harvesting, the crop often
poor in quality, usually low in price; he saw his land steadily be-
coming less productive, yet with persistence more heroic than in-
telligent, he had consistently refused to be led from his beaten
path by the most reasonable and stable temptations. But even
this dogged conservatism was not entirely secure from contami-
nating influences, and it finally broke down under a complication
of internal and external attacks.
  The hop craze, although exceedingly brief in its main outlines,
had its roots grounded well back in Wisconsin history. There
is hardly a doubt, although the data for proof are not at hand,
that the introduction of this crop is to be credited to the people
who were familiar with its culture in the state of New York. At
all events, the names of the men who first are mentioned in this
connection are without exception the names common in New
York settlements.38 As early as 1850 a few attempts had been
made in the direction of hop culture, and the results were flatter-
ing indeed.39
  The success of hop growing was so well proved that by i843
  "STrans. State Aqr'l Soc., ITT. 59.
  "1 havf been In the hop culture  . . . three years In Wisconsin.
Good corn soil  the most suitable for hop-ralsing  . . . five acres 'ast
year gave me one ton of hops per acre, which I consider as an ordinary yield
with good care. The cost of cultivation Is about six cents per pound.
I sold the yield of my five acres for $1.400.0. I consider the hop crop an
sure as any I have ever raised. It can be kept up ten or twenty years
with good management."-Wisconsin State Journal, Jan. 18, 1854.

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