Agriculture in Harvey County: Part of the “Wheat State” Story

Key to the early agricultural growth in Harvey County were the German-speaking European emigrants. The Santa Fe land agent, C.B. Schmidt, encouraged them to settle in Harvey County by offering a good price for government-granted fertile railroad land and other amenities. The immigrants started farming with Turkey Red hard winter wheat. Other farmers in Harvey County and surrounding counties took up the practice. Eventually, Kansas earned the reputation as “the breadbasket of the world” and was nicknamed the “Wheat State.”

Through on-line exhibits, this slideshow series gives short stories about Harvey County and its cities; and provides a sampling of the stories which can be discovered by viewing the on-site exhibits at HCHM, by examining source material in the Research Library and by utilizing the HCHM photo collection.

For even more stories of Harvey County’s people, events and businesses, check out:

  • Harvey County Wheat Harvest. Learn more about the harvesting process HERE on the HCHM blog “Voices of Harvey County” on the About Us tab.
  • Bernhard and Wilhelmina Warkentin. Through Bernhard’s promotion of the hardy, high-yield Turkey Red hard winter wheat, Kansas realized enormous wheat productivity which made the region the “breadbasket of the world.” Go HERE to learn more about the Warkentin story.  (Note: By going to the link, you’ll leave the HCHM website.) Excellent information is available about the Warkentin’s former home in Newton. Open to the public, it is currently a museum. The Warkentin’s former home in Halstead is a private residence and not available for general public access.
  • Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum. Located a short distance into Marion County is the town of Goessel. It’s well worth a trip to this museum whose agricultural section features artifacts in the Turkey Red Wheat Palace relating to the progression of mechanization in farming from the 1800s to the mid 1960s. Go HERE to learn more about agricultural life.  (Note: By going to the link, you’ll leave the HCHM website.)

Check the HCHM website regularly for the addition of new on-line slideshows in this series on Harvey County, Kansas.

Click anywhere on the first image below to scroll through Unit 6 – Agriculture in Harvey County: Part of the “Wheat State” Story.