Wisconsin Dairymen's Association / Tenth annual report of the Wisconsin Dairymen's Association : held at Sheboygan, Wis., January 11-13, 1882. Report of the proceedings, annual address of the president, and interesting essays relating to the dairy interests
Hoard, W. D.
The influence dairying has had in Wisconsin, upon the farm, the farmer, and the community at large, pp. 63-68 PDF (1.2 MB)
Tni INFUBZNc DAIRYING H AS HAD IN WISCONSIN. 65 yield of wheat fell off from 1850 to 1870 full fifty per cent.; great broad, unsightly fields of plowed land blotched the face of autumn the fenees had an air of apology for being there; there was a pain- ful oolk of irresolution about them. There were no barns. In smal, uncomfortable houses lodged the farmer and his children, and there was a look everywhere of cheerless, uni nviting expan- sivenes. The western farmer in those days cared nothing for that well ordered beauty of expression in his surroundings that is always a sure indication of handsome thrift. Dismal as this picture may appear, it is true; but that is not all; the farmer was soon con- fronted with the ugly fact that he was growing poorer. The unre- lenting current of a wasteful method of farming was drifting him, and the entire comw unity with him, to poverty and discouragement As the Frenchman said about his burning house, " Zat ting vas getting no petter very fat. " Added to all this came the habits of extravagance, engendered by the high priees of the war, so tkat about 1870 there was a gen- eral awakening to the fact that we must have more revenue. Both the yield and the price of our products were fast lessening, and between the upper and lower grind of these facts the farmer was being ground to powder. A great many sought relief by migrating still farther west, where they could tackle another virgin soil and continue the same methods. At this juncture, a few of the more thoughtful and representative farmers, uniting with others who had the cause deeply at heart, commenced advocating a change. To better illustrate what I have to say, I will take the single county of Jefferson, as one of the prominent dairy districts of the state, and by it illustrate the character of the change that came wherever dairying has been practiced. In 1870 the entire property valuation of Jefferson county was $10,511,377, and its population over thirty- five thousand. It was one of the oldest counties in the state, possessed of a fair soil, but, owing to the causes I have cited, agriculture was in a very de- presed se. At this time there was in the county, all told, eleven thousand cows, and the census returns of that year report the product of those cows at nearly one million pounds of butter and about fifty thousand pounds of cheese, with a total value of $75,000. But this
Based on date of publication, this material is presumed to be in the public domain.| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright