Cover of a brochure published by Swift & Company, a national meatpacker and margarine producer with operations in St. Paul. Image is from the Davis, Kellogg & Severance Law Firm Records, 1878–1941, Minnesota Historical Society.
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.