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Man Does Not Live by Wheat Alone


Hugh J. Hughes, director of markets for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, spoke in Moorhead on this date in 1923. The Fargo Forum reported that he addressed a gathering of businessmen and farmers, many of them from North Dakota. Hughes expressed concern about the future of agriculture in the Red River Valley. He caused a stir by saying wheat couldn’t be profitable in the area. He didn’t mean wheat in the valley was a dead issue, but he urged farmers to develop a plan of crop rotation. Farmers, he said, could profit by diversification.

Hughes asserted that Red River farmers were missing opportunities. He felt that a poor quality of beef and pork was being sold in the South St. Paul market, so farmers in the valley might do well to add livestock. Hughes was sure they could produce a much higher quality product. He also said that after a good deal of research and investigation, he was convinced that sugar beets would be an extremely profitable crop.

The Fargo Forum ran a related article that same day. A farmer in Garner, North Dakota announced he was giving up on wheat. George Carufel said a trip to the south made him realize how fortunate Red River farmers were. The soil in the area was far superior to anything he saw on his trip. He said farmers insisted on growing wheat even though they were going broke. It was time, he said, to do something different. He planned to grow forage for livestock. On this date in 1923, he drove a herd of 500 purebred sheep through Fargo to his farm. He also planned to add cattle and hogs.

In yet another related article, the paper reported that Native Americans in the state were making great progress in farming. A fair held in Fort Totten for reservation Indians had impressed a representative of the North Dakota Agricultural College. He noted that most Indians disliked the dairy business and preferred raising cattle.

Dakota Datebook by Carole Butcher

Fargo Forum. “Diversifying is Urged in Red River Valley by Market Director.” 30 October, 1923

Fargo Forum. “Fargo Man is Putting Band of 500 Sheep on Valley Farm.” 30 October, 1923

Fargo Forum. “Indians Show Farm Progress.” 30 October, 1923