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"Quite an Experiment": A Mining Company's Attempt to Promote Agriculture on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, 1895-1915

Terry S. Reynolds
Agricultural History
Vol. 80, No. 1 (Winter, 2006), pp. 64-98
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3745104
Page Count: 35
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"Quite an Experiment": A Mining Company's Attempt to Promote Agriculture on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, 1895-1915
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Abstract

Between 1895 and 1915 Cleveland-Cliffs, one of America's leading iron mining companies, became deeply involved in promoting agricultural development on Michigan's rugged Upper Peninsula. Its two-decade-long attempt to identify appropriate plants and farming practices and thus to extend the agricultural frontier into this region was ambitious. It included an experimental garden, a greenhouse and nursery, an attempt to produce fertilizer locally, two major experimental/demonstration farms, and a number of other agricultural initiatives not usually associated with mining companies. This article reviews why Cleveland-Cliffs became deeply involved in promoting agriculture, the nature of its programs, why its activities were more comprehensive and longer lasting that those of most other companies (mostly timber and railroad) who attempted to promote agriculture in the Great Lakes cutover region, and why the attempt ultimately failed.

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