The main occupation of the population in Michigan in the 1800s and early 1900s was agriculture.
The main crops in Michigan were: Wheat, Corn, Clover, potatoes, apples, beans, cherries, pears, sugar beets, grapes, peaches, dry beans, celery, oats, rye, plums, blackberries, and hay .
The Michigan Historical Museum's website states "Michigan farmers began growing beets for sugar in the late 1890s. The first sugar beet factory opened in southern Michigan in 1898. Farmers needed additional laborers. During the 1910s and 20s, Eastern European immigrants were hired to cultivate and harvest sugar beet and potato fields. In the 1920s, as these immigrants found jobs in the auto plants and elsewhere, Mexican and Texan seasonal workers began coming to Michigan to harvest sugar beets and other crops."
"Soybeans, not widely grown before 1920 except as feed for livestock, received a boost from Henry Ford in the 1930s. His "Henry Ford and Son Laboratories" developed uses for soybean oil in auto lubricants and paints and for soybean meal to make a sort of plastic for auto parts such as gearshift knobs. In fact, Ford made a whole car out of his soybean formulabut he never found a market for it." see http://www.hal.state.mi.us/mhc/museum/explore/museums/hismus/1900-75/erlyagri/crops.html
On the same website above is another piece of history. "Michigan Agricultural College (MAC, now Michigan State University) professors laid the foundation for scientific advancements in Michigan agriculture. Researchers experimented with various crops, tested orchard fungicides and insecticides, evaluated seeds and fertilizers and raised livestock on different feeds to learn the most cost-effective way to produce the best meat, crops and dairy products."
"Roadside Marketing in Michigan, Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 185, month 199##MAC Agriculture Agents became the link between the college's research and farmers. They introduced new farming practices and scientific advances to farmers through extension bulletins and workshops. They organized home extension groups for farm wives and 4-H clubs for farm children. They provided information on soil, crop research, farm markets and ways to obtain credit."
"Frank A. Spragg of MAC fostered the organization that became the Michigan Crop Improvement Association in 1917. The association improved the quality and reputation of Michigan certified seed by inspecting and approving members' fields. Spragg made Michigan the leading producer of navy beans when he introduced the "Robust" variety in 1915. He also developed Rosen Rye and Red Rock wheat, two varieties that improved the production of these grains in Michigan. Spragg's Hardigan alfalfa, introduced in 1920, eased the way for Michigan farmers to turn from growing grain to dairy farming."
Read why there were 49,000 silos built in Michigan in 1919-1920. Read what the Silo did for the farmer and why barn design was changed.. Go to
Macomb County had a population of 31,627 in 1881 with 296,055 acres of accessed land
Michigan also produced 88 million in agricultural products, 60 Million in Timber, 2 million in salt, 1 million in fish and 8 million in copper (up north).
Every farm had its garden with numerous vegetables and most had an orchard with apples, pears, peaches, plumbs etc. Of c_ourse most farms had a raspberry patch perhaps the most tastee of all.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s the raising of cattle for meat and dairy farms were a big item.
Growers sometimes use minimum till or no-till methods to prevent excessive soil drying. This means that the ground is not ploughed every year.
As soon as someone tells me what this is I will list it here