During the 1870s, grasshopper plagues made life miserable for Minnesota's farmers. The insects traveled in swarms so large they darkened the sky, destroying crops and farmers’ livelihoods along the way. Learn more about the government response to the crisis and the lasting damage that was left behind.
On June 12, 1873, farmers in southwestern Minnesota saw what looked like a snowstorm coming towards their fields from the west. What seemed to be snowflakes were in fact grasshoppers. In a matter of hours, knee-high fields of grass and wheat were eaten to the ground by hungry hoppers.