Black and white photograph of unidentified men in field with farm machinery, James J. Hill's Northcote Farm, Northcote, Minnesota, undated.

Unidentified men in field with farm machinery, James J. Hill's Northcote Farm

Unidentified men in field with farm machinery, James J. Hill's Northcote Farm, Northcote, Minnesota, undated.

Black and white photograph of Walter J. Hill's Northcote Farm Residence, 1915. Photograph by D. Wallace.

Walter J. Hill's Northcote Farm Residence

Walter J. Hill's Northcote Farm Residence, 1915. Photograph by D. Wallace.

Colorized Washburn-Crosby Flour Mills advertisement for Gold Medal Flour, Threshing Scene, unknown location.

Washburn-Crosby Flour Mills advertisement for Gold Medal Flour, Threshing Scene

Washburn-Crosby Flour Mills advertisement for Gold Medal Flour, Threshing Scene, c.1900.

Bonanza Farms, Red River Valley

Bonanza farms—large, commercial farming enterprises that grew thousands of acres of wheat—flourished in northwestern Minnesota and the Dakotas from the 1870s to 1920. Geology, the Homestead Act of 1862, railroads, modern machinery, and revolutionary new flour-milling methods all contributed to the bonanza farm boom.

Black and white photograph of farm buildings, Rochester State Hospital, c.1940.

Farm buildings, Rochester State Hospital

Farm buildings, Rochester State Hospital, c.1940.

Black and white photograph of the winners of the 1917 Minnesota State Fair girls’ canning competition.

Canning champions at the 1917 Minnesota State Fair

Winners of the 1917 Minnesota State Fair girls’ canning competition.

Minnesota State Fair, 1917

Since its founding in 1859, the Minnesota State Fair had been an essential yearly tradition in the agricultural state. However, after the United States entered World War I in 1917, the fair took on an entirely new significance. Organizers reframed the event as a “Food Training Camp” that showed Minnesotans how to produce and conserve resources vital to the Allied war effort.

Black and white photograph of Thomas McMahon (far left), a farmer in Tara Township, loading hay onto a Great Northern Railway freight car, c.1910.

Thomas McMahon (far left), a farmer in Tara Township, loading hay onto a Great Northern Railway freight car

Thomas McMahon (far left), a farmer in Tara Township, loading hay onto a Great Northern Railway freight car, c.1910.

Black and white photograph of Father Anatole Oster (left) with farmers in Clontarf Township, c.1885.

Father Anatole Oster (left) with farmers in Clontarf Township

Father Anatole Oster (left) with farmers in Clontarf Township, c.1885.

Minnesota’s Margarine Battles, 1885–1975

During the late 1800s, dairy farmers in Minnesota and other states faced what they considered a serious and immediate threat to their livelihoods: the growing popularity of a butter substitute called oleomargarine. For nearly a century, the dairy industry and its legislative allies waged a series of campaigns to prohibit or limit the manufacture and sale of margarine. No state retained its anti-margarine laws longer than Minnesota.

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