There are approximately 2 million acres of land in the county. Much of it is suitable for agriculture but so far, most of the land is producing timber. Most of the land that has been developed for farming is in the Caldwell Brook, Little Fork, Big Fork, Sturgeon, Black, Rapid and Rainy River valleys.
A number of disastrous forest fires destroyed hundreds of acres of timber, farm buildings, livestock and lives. The fires, destructive as they were, made it possible for the settlers to clear large tracts of land. In places where the peat has been burned off the land, it is now used for farming.
Much of the agricultural land in the county is especially suitable for grazing. Hay grasses and clover grow abundantly. Many farmers are raising beef cattle profitably which at present is more extensive than dairy farming. There are a few flocks of sheep. Horses are being raised for riding.
Crops & Animals
Some farmers have done well financially raising alfalfa and clover for seed. Most of the crops raised are hay, small grains, corn and potatoes. A few are experimenting with wild rice and sunflowers. A number have combined their farming operations with logging. In the southwestern part of the county, dairy herd replacement stock is being raised.
Charley Grundmeir (Warren Township) Making Hay (1919)
Farming in the county is following the national trend. The farms are becoming larger, the small farms are disappearing.
Before the regulations for selling milk became so restrictive, almost every farmer owned milk cows and sold cream.
O.J. Wold, Ray area pioneer, tilled his land with 3 oxen - Tom, Dick and Jerry.
Creameries were in operation at International Falls, Littlefork, Loman and Northome. There are now 2 classes of dairy farms: Class A qualifies the farmer to sell milk, Class B only permits the milk to be used for home consumption or fed to animals. The Class A dairy farms are in the vicinities of Littlefork and Ray. The milk from those farms is being purchased by a large creamery in an adjoining county. All the creameries in the county have been closed.