Did you know that Wisconsin was once a major producer of hemp? Of course you also likely know that hemp is a first cousin of marijuana—which eventually caused the demise of the industry.
In 1908 the University of Wisconsin’s agronomy department grew the first hemp in the state, on the grounds of the Mendota Hospital in Madison. The demand for binding material—hemp was excellent for making twine and rope—was ever increasing. By 1911, the UW had hemp experiment plots at Mendota Hospital, Waupun and Viroqua. Hemp grew well in southern Wisconsin, producing as much as 1,200 pounds per acre.
Wisconsin was the number two producer of hemp in the United States in 1917 with some seven thousand acres. Kentucky was number one.
During World War II, hemp fiber was once more in high demand, particularly for marine rope and rigging for parachutes. During WW II, Wisconsin had 42 hemp mills scattered across southern Wisconsin from Cuba City to Union Grove.
Today no hemp is grown in Wisconsin.
See a more complete story of Wisconsin and the hemp industry in my new book: WISCONSIN AGRICULTURE: A HISTORY, published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Order by going to this link:
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Wisconsin’s agricultural history includes some mostly forgotten crops.
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fund raiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps a Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
August 26, 9:30 a.m. Farm Technology Days, Sun Prairie. Farm Stories.
August 30, 1-4 p.m., Book World, West Bend. Book signing.
September 3, Noon. Old World Wisconsin, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History .
September 3, 7 p.m. Books and Company bookstore, Oconomowoc. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
September 12, 2-4 p.m. Remarks at 2:30 p.m. West Madison Agriculture Research Station, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. Call 888-748-7479 for reservations.
September 17, 11:-a.m. St. Luke’s Church, Middleton, WI Stories From the Land
September 19 , Stonefield Village, Cassville. Whispers and Shadows.
September 23, Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
September 26, 10:30 -2:00, Dregni’s, Westby, Book signing.
October 4, 1-3 p.m. Readers Realm bookstore, Montello. Ag. History
October 7, 6:30 p.m. Reedsburg Library, Whispers and Shadows
October 10, Heartland Forum, Chicago.
October 11, Old World Wisconsin
October 15, Prairie du Sac Library, Whispers and Shadows
October 17, 9-4 Teaching writing workshop at The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI
October 17, 4:30-6:00 p.m. The Clearing. Book signing, Whispers and Shadows, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
October 29, Brown County Library. Premier of TV Documentary,” The Land With Jerry Apps. “ Book signing, Whispers and Shadows.
November 5, 7:00 p.m. Baraboo Library, Whispers and Shadows.
November 7, Edgerton Book Festival, The Land (TV documentary) and Whispers and Shadows
November 14, 9:30 -11:30 a.m. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
November 15, 9:15 Midvale Lutheran Church, The Land (TV documentary) plus discussion of Whispers and Shadows.
November 18, Preview of TV Documentary, “The Land With Jerry Apps” Wild Rose High School Auditorium. Whispers and Shadows book signing. (Time to be announced)