Browsed by
Tag: farmer

Modern Kitchen Conveniences circa 1909

Modern Kitchen Conveniences circa 1909

It is easy to take for granted the modern kitchen, or more specifically, modern refrigeration. Food can last incredibly long inside of our modern refrigerators, but modern refrigeration is barely 100 years old. What did people do to keep food cool and away from pests before widespread refrigeration? In the 1800s, the icebox became increasingly popular which created a global market for ice to fill the iceboxes. In the Yearbook of the Department of Agriculture, 1909, one chapter focuses on…

Read More Read More

The Best Way to Maximize Profit

The Best Way to Maximize Profit

The economics of agriculture, or any sector of the economy, are actually quite simple at their core. A product is produced and someone needs to be willing to purchase that product. What is the key to maximum profit? Connecting the product to the consumer in as few steps as possible. The process of getting the product to the consumer can be a very complicated process and every step of the way incurs a cost upon the farmer and ultimately their…

Read More Read More

Rural Flight: The Migration from Farm to City

Rural Flight: The Migration from Farm to City

The statistic is quite striking. In 1820 it is estimated that 72% of Americans worked on farms. In 1920, the number was 30%. Today, less than 1%. This concept continues to come up repeatedly. For 200 years, people have been leaving farms for the city. The underlying question is, “Why?”  At the Plymouth Historical Society, there are stacks of old books that give a glimpse into the past of Plymouth and the United States. One stack included different copies from…

Read More Read More

The Last Dairy in Plymouth

The Last Dairy in Plymouth

Driving through Plymouth today, it is hard to imagine it was all farmland not that long ago. Much of that farmland aided the feeding of many dairy cows, but all that ended 33 years ago. On August 21, 1986, Plymouth’s Post newspaper ran a story titled, “Plymouth’s Last Dairy Farm Bows to Buyout.” The Leuer family owned the farm, which had been in dairy production since 1919. With the buyout, the farm would cease to be a dairy farm and…

Read More Read More

Object Spotlight: The Schiebe Gunny Sack

Object Spotlight: The Schiebe Gunny Sack

One of the challenges of working at a historical society is coming across objects that do not have clear provenance or purpose. This week’s Object Spotlight focuses on a gunny sack that is difficult to completely decipher. The reusable bag is made of tightly woven cotton or hemp fibers. Printed on one side of the sack is “A. F. Schiebe.” Schiebe is a common name in Plymouth history. The likeliest original owner of the sack would be Albert Frank Schiebe…

Read More Read More

Object Spotlight: Fish Hook Hog Rings

Object Spotlight: Fish Hook Hog Rings

At the Plymouth Historical Society, we have a box of fish hook hog rings made by Decker Manufacturing Company. This company was established in 1878 and is still around today. Originally the company worked predominately with barbed wire, but has since developed many different agricultural products. It is difficult to tell how old the box is, but it is clear the rings must have had some practical purpose on the farm. In fact, nearly the same exact product is still…

Read More Read More

Class Announcement: Early 20th Century Farming

Class Announcement: Early 20th Century Farming

Less than 1% of the population today are farmers. In 1920, it was 30%. What was life like 100 years ago? This is a question I have had ever since I began volunteering at the Plymouth Historical Society. My reasons for asking this question were varied. First, I wanted to better understand my family history — a history deeply tied to agriculture. My father is still farming in Wisconsin many years after his ancestors arrived in the 1830s. I grew…

Read More Read More

Object Spotlight: 1930 Hay Harvest Photograph

Object Spotlight: 1930 Hay Harvest Photograph

I recently came across a photograph at the Plymouth Historical Society that caught my eye. It depicted a man standing in front of an automobile in 1930. The vehicle was barely visible underneath the massive pile of hay on top of what was likely a hay wagon. A small three-pronged fork sat beside the pile and a open barn door was to the rear of the hay pile. If you look closely, a small building sits to the right front…

Read More Read More

Innovation and the Resistance to Change in Agriculture

Innovation and the Resistance to Change in Agriculture

I spent some time talking to my father this past week about what he knew of life in the early 1900s. I asked him questions about Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods and was somewhat surprised by his response. His ancestors were not doing much of what Taylor talked about because even if they knew of it, it was likely impractical for them to implement. The process of innovation is often very slow. Taylor and his fellow researchers had great ideas, but…

Read More Read More

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part V

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part V

Though Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, is nearly 100 years old, it contains many practical tips that still apply today. This is the fifth of 5 blog posts on this subject. 5. The need to pursue knowledge and innovation For some reason the label “dumb farmer” has been attached to many of those whose life work is a farmer. The reasons why can only be speculated. The best guess is that many farmers never went to college and may have even missed out…

Read More Read More