Sustaining Life: Agriculture

In pioneer days, eggs were used almost as much as money as a medium for exchange. Farmers, as a rule, would have one to two dozen chickens. They could take their eggs to any store and exchange them for merchandise just as readily as money. Andrew Arne Anderson and Soren Hanson both established thriving egg businesses in Hyrum.

Almost every family in Hyrum raised corn and peas in their gardens. Sugar beets were also grown as early as the 1890s, providing an important industry for Hyrum both in production and intensive labor requirements. Orchards provided apples, pears, peaches, and cherries, and many settlers also grew raspberry and strawberry patches. Sugar was initially scarce and expensive, so molasses was used, and eventually families established a bee hive or two in their fields or orchards.

The first flock of sheep in Hyrum was owned by H. P. Hansen and Charles Sorenson. They worked as partners for some time and eventually established a herd of over 4,000 head. During the winter, the sheep foraged in an area west of Tremonton and spent the spring lambing in Paradise Hollow. When lambing season ended, the sheep were sheared and the wool was stored in large sacks for market. Then the animals were trailed to the summer range in Blacksmith Fork Canyon.

Hyrum S. Brown and sons owned a beautiful 7,000 acre ranch in the mountains south and east of town where grass and water were plentiful, grazing 200 to 1,000 head of cattle. To fully utilize the grazing potential of their ranch, they also went into the sheep business for a time, but eventually sold the sheep and became exclusively devoted to the cattle business.

In 1912, the Utah Condensed Milk Co. built a plant in Hyrum. Cheese and butter were made from the milk and during the Depression, more cheese was made in this plant than at any other plant west of the Mississippi River. Fourteen men made railcar loads of the 50,000 pounds of milk received daily, which were shipped east. In 1921, the Sego Milk Products Co. took over the dairy operation and operated successfully until 1958.