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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history

3. Agriculture,   pp. 52-57

Page 53

By 1915, Wisconsin had become "America's Dairyland." It produced more butter and cheese
than any other state, including New York. The University of Wisconsin School of Agriculture
worked hand-in-hand with dairy farmers to bring them the latest improvements and
technology to boost the production and quality of dairy products. Besides the rapid expansion
of cheese factories and creameries in Wisconsin in the early twentieth century, large fluid and
condensed milk plants sprang up across the state. Eventually, these plants were consolidated
and produced milk and milk products under regionally and nationally known labels.
Throughout the twentieth century, dairying has remained one of the dominant industries in
Wisconsin. (Wyatt 1986: Agriculture 11-1-11-3)
Janesville and the surrounding Rock County agricultural area. Atlas of Wisconsin, 1873.
Agriculture in Rock County
Rock County has some of the most productive farmland in the world, particularly within the
area known as the Rock Prairie near Janesville. The earliest settlers in Rock County found this
large, fertile prairie, along with oak openings and woods, to be easily cultivated. Like most
settlers to Wisconsin, early Rock County farmers put the majority of their farms into wheat
growing, and the county produced high yields of this cash crop during the pre-Civil War era.
But, like most other parts of the state, continuous wheat growing soon depleted the soil, and
farmers had to look to other types of farming to make a profit. (Brown 1908: 400401)
Rock County farmers followed the diversified farming trends of the rest of the state between
the Civil War and 1900, including an emphasis on stock raising and the production of feed crops,
vegetables, sugar beets, and tobacco. The production of tobacco was particularly successful in

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