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History of Agriculture, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia. (Links Added)
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Change did occur, however, including a rise of speculative promotion in land. This was especially apparent in the 1890s when total farmland increased more than threefold, from 1.3 million to 4.1 million acres. After a lull early in the new century, land use boomed again between 1909 and 1918 when settlers entered an average of 575,000 new acres each year. The number of farms increased from 10,517 in 1890 to an all-time high of 30,695 in 1935. This was due in part to mounting faith in the technology of dry farming. Discounted to begin with, dry farming methods attracted great attention during the 1890s; by 1905 the Utah Agricultural College had established six experimental farms and John A. Widstoe had worked out dry farming techniques. Thousands hailed it as a new El Dorado. Some organized great land companies. However, more lived hardscabble lives before finally retreating from the land or returning to town to commute as family demands required. Few dry farmers actually lived on the land after 1945.

Even more in the spirit of the new commercialism were land development projects. Scattered throughout the state's submarginal regions were high-risk enterprises. The New Castle Reclamation Company pinned high hopes on the vast Escalante Desert. Near Moab, the Valley City Company of Indianapolis laid grand plans but watched helplessly as its dam and its hopes melted with summer cloudbursts. Even the state land office was caught in the frenzy, promoting the Hatchtown Dam and the State Canal along which new settlements, including the Jewish colony of Clarion, were located. In the west deserts railroad-sponsored companies opened Carey Land Act tracts near Delta and Milford.


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