University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

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

Chapter I: Transition from simple to complex agriculture,   pp. [145]-148 PDF (756.5 KB)

Page 146

   sively as the market would stand, until the high-price period of
   the '6o's, and why they were not then raised in large numbers
   instead of by the half-dozen or so, is a hard question to answer.
   It is usually said that the price of breeding-stock was so great
   that few could afford the investment. This is about equal to
   arguing that seed corn is too valuable to plant, and therefore
   must be made at once into meal. A few men did have enough
   foresight and enterprise to go into the business in earnest and
   these were soon able to pay off the incumbrances on their farms
   and to buy more land as well. Fat hogs sold as high as fourteen
   dollars per hundred for a time, but to a farmer with fewer hogs
   than it takes for a wagon load, as was the usual condition,
   this was a matter of small concern. As for cattle, the difficulty
   of getting a start was serious enough to be accepted as a good
   argument, against raising them: but in letting the years from
   186i to i868 slip without branching out into the swine industry,
 the Wisconsin farmer missed an opportunity such as comes to
 few generations of farmers.
    The war was the cause of many experiments and modifications
 in agriculture throughout the North. One of the most notice-
 able of these was the attempt to produce sugar at home. In
 Wisconsin there was considerable excitement over the possibili-
 ties of growing sorghum on a commercial scale. Meetings were
 held, and papers were read and published, in which it was pre-
 dicted that we could easily get along without Louisiana sugar; that
 the inconvenience of the high tariff on foreign sugar would be for-
 gotten when sugar was made in sufficient quantities at home, and
 that molasses and sugar might possibly be exported. Even the
 seed was to prove an item of consequence by affording feed for
 stock.34 A state convention was held at Madison for the pur-
 pose of diffusing sentiment and gathering information.3"
 Under the same stimulus the production of honey increased
 several hundred per cent., but even then the total amount was not
 a matter of consequence.
 Another crop which attracted considerable attention for a brief
 BVWsiconsit state Journal, April 8, 1863.
 2Wieconsin State Journal, January 21, 1864; Trane. State AgrK Soc., VII,
100; an account of this convention appears in the same volume.
!j :
  I i
  i ,
1_ -___

Go up to Top of Page