[Minneapolis]: Thompson Yards, Inc, 1916.
Broadside, 20.75 x 9.75 inches. Old folding creases, a few short, closed tears at margins; very good. Minneapolis-based company Thompson Yards tells farmers that diversification in agriculture is the road to wealth -- urging them to buy silos on credit on the grounds that they can’t go wrong if they raise cattle while growing alfalfa and a variety of grain crops. In the 1880s and 1890s, the Dakotas had been widely promoted by land agents as ideal for growing wheat, and many had settled there convinced their fortunes would be made by the crop. But Dakota farmers had suffered greatly when their wheat crops were devastated by disease (“black rust”) or excessive heat. While this broadside may read as an advertiser’s hype (which it is), it was not entirely wrong – in the first decades of the twentieth centuries Dakota farmers had success growing oats, corn, barley, rye, flax, sugar beets, sunflowers, potatoes, and other crops. With demand high from the Allies during the start of World War I, such crops did briefly lead to wealth. But farmers also borrowed heavily as they rushed to expand, and many could not repay their debts when demand declined after the war and drought conditions returned.