fewer than 13,000 families still farmed in the 1980s, land values and
rural ways continued to reflect strong sentiments and preferences. The
owner-occupied home with its lawn and garden had become what political
scientist Daniel Elazer termed an "urban surrogate for the family farm."
The persistence of rural interests was also evident in the vitality
of state and county fairs at which livestock and rural and home exhibits
were avidly patronized. Interest in horses was high as attested by rodeos,
racing, and horse shows. In the mid-1970s more than 37,000 people owned
horses. Dollar investment was estimated at $329 million, but few owners
viewed their horses as a money-making enterprise. In short, as the twentieth
century entered its last decades, the ideals of space, closeness to
the soil, country recreation, personal security, simplicity of life
and its attendant virtues played a role far beyond the direct dollar
yield of the limited number of acres under cultivation. In 1990 as in
1847 agriculture was important to Utahns.
Charles S. Peterson, " The Americanization of Utah's Agriculture," Utah
Historical Quarterly (Fall 1974); Charles Landscape," in Richard H.
Jackson, ed., The Mormon Role in the Settlement of the West (1978);
Charles S. Peterson, "Touch of the Mountain Sod: How Land United and
Divided Utahns 1847-1985," Dello Dayton Lecture (1988).