An Apps for History of Wisconsin Agriculture


Wisconsin Historical Society has announced the debut of Jerry Apps most recent book, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.

Wisconsin Historical Society Press Logo
For Immediate Release

Kristin Gilpatrick, Marketing Manager
Wisconsin Historical Society Press
Wisconsin Agriculture: A History by Jerry Apps

Finally, a book on agriculture that is historical, informative, and enjoyable reading for all …
I learned much about farming in America’s Dairyland that I didn’t know. Readers of any age will benefit from Jerry’s perspective on how agriculture has evolved to feed the world.”
Orion Samuelson
Agribusiness Director, WGN Radio

  Jerry Apps Harvests Agriculture’s Bountiful History in New Book 
Jerry Apps, author, Discover the rich and diverse history of farming in Wisconsin — from the story of cranberry growers and Christmas tree farmers to the harvesters of honey and hops — with celebrated rural historian Jerry Apps in his new Wisconsin Historical Society Press book Wisconsin Agriculture: A History .
Wisconsin has been a farming state from its very beginnings. Though it’s long been known as “the Dairy State,” this book shows that the Badger state produces much more than cows, milk, and cheese. Along with expected topics, such as artisan cheesemaking and the cranberry industry, “Wisconsin Agriculture” explores beef cattle and dairy goats, fur farming, Christmas trees, maple syrup, honey, and other specialty crops, including ginseng, hemp, cherries, sugar beets, mint, sphagnum moss, flax, and hops.
The first history of Wisconsin agriculture in nearly a century, this long-awaited volume digs into a cornucopia of agricultural topics, from the fundamental influences of landscape and weather to complex matters of ethnic and pioneer settlement patterns, changing technology, agricultural research and education, and government regulations and policies.
Apps also explores new and rediscovered farming endeavors, from aquaculture to urban farming to beekeeping, as well as recent political developments, such as the 2014 Farm Bill and its ramifications. And he looks to the future of farming, contemplating questions of ethical growing practices, food safety, sustainability, and the potential effects of climate change.
Featuring first-person accounts from the settlement era to today, and more than 200 captivating photos, “Wisconsin Agriculture” breathes life into the facts and figures of 150 years of farming history and provides compelling insights into the state’s past, present, and future.
Media: For a review copy of “Wisconsin Agriculture,” to interview Jerry Apps, or for more information, please contact Kristin Gilpatrick, Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 816 State St., Madison, WI 53706; 608-264-6465; email:
The Wisconsin Historical Society Press, publishing the best of
Wisconsin history and culture since 1855 as a division of the Wisconsin Historical Society
About the Photographer & Author
Jerry Apps was born and raised on a central Wisconsin farm. He is a former county extension agent and professor emeritus for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jerry is the author of more than forty fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books with topics ranging from barns and cheese factories to farming with horses and the Ringling Brothers circus. He and his wife, Ruth, have three grown children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandson. They divide their time between their home in Madison and their farm, Roshara, in Waushara County.
Early Praise for “Wisconsin Agriculture”
“Finally, a book on agriculture that is historical, informative, and enjoyable reading for all, thanks to Jerry Apps and his real-life experience growing up on a Wisconsin farm. My background is similar, yet I learned much about farming in America’s Dairyland that I didn’t know. Readers of any age will benefit from Jerry’s perspective on how agriculture has evolved to feed the world.”

Orion Samuelson, Agribusiness Director, WGN Radio & RFD-TV
“I’m embarrassed to say I thought I knew anything substantial about Wisconsin agriculture or its history before I read this book. ‘Wisconsin Agriculture’ should be required reading in history classes from high school to the collegiate level. It makes me thankful that Jerry has such a sense of commitment to Wisconsin’s agricultural heritage-and to getting the story right.”
– Pam Jahnke, Farm Director, Wisconsin Farm Report Radio
“Jerry Apps does a phenomenal job of telling the story of Wisconsin’s agriculture history. This is a tremendous historical reserouce and a must read for farming and rural Wisconsin enthusiasts.”
– Fran O’Leary, Editor, Wisconsin Agriculturist
“Apps instills a sense of wonder as he tells us about the forces that shaped Wisconsin, from the Ice Age glaciers … to the great thinkers and risk-takers who transformed the state’s agricultural economy multiple times throughout the 1800s and 1900s. These inspirational figures include those at the university who taught in classrooms and labs 125 years ago and who traveled the state sharing knowledge with farmers, community leaders, family members, and children-ultimately the notion of the Wisconsin Idea.”
– John Shutske, Assoc. Dean of Extension, UW-Madison College of Agricultural & Life Sciences
Upcoming Events
Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015 – Book Launch SPECIAL EVENT
Time: 2 pm
Location: UW-Madison West Side Agriculture Research Station, 8502 Mineral Point Rd., Verona, Wis. Join fellow Society members and the public at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station for a special book launch celebration. Enjoy a talk about Wisconsin agriculture history by Jerry Apps, sample Wisconsin-produced foods, meet the current Alice in Dairyland, and get your copy of “Wisconsin Agriculture” autographed.
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 – Book Launch Talk & Signing
Time: 6 pm
Location:  Wild Rose Middle & High School, Wild Rose, Wis. Hosted by the Wild Rose Library. Come early for “apps-e-tizers’ beginning at 6 pm.
Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 – Dregne’s Book Signing
Time: 10:30 am
Location: Dregne’s Scandinavian Gifts, 100 Main St., Westby, Wis. Jerry Apps will be signing copies of his many books, including his newest Society Press book “Wisconsin Agriculture.” The book signing is party of Dregne’s 40th Anniversary celebration; the family-owned business opened in 1975.
Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015 – Book Talk & Signing
Time: 1 pm
Location: Readers Realm Bookstore, 147  E Montello Street, Montello, Wis.
Thursday, Oct. 7, 2015 – Book Talk & Signing
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Ruth Culver Community Library, 1540 Water Street, Prairie du Sac, Wis. Sponsored by the Friends of the Ruth Culver Community Library.
Time: 3:30 pm
Location: Wisconsin Historical Society headquarters building auditorium, 816 State Street (across from Memorial Union), Madison, Wis. The Wisconsin Historical Society, UW-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and UW-Madison Extension invite readers, history buffs and agriculture fans to this special, joint, Wisconsin Book Festival and Wisconsin Science Festival event! Celebrated rural historian Jerry Apps (a former UW-Extension Agent and Professor Emeritus) will highlight the richness and diversity of agriculture in the Badger State–including the UW system’s contribution’s to that history–drawing from his new Society Press book, “Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,” the first expansive volume on Wisconsin agriculture history nearly a century. Ben Brancel,  Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and Dr. Ellsworth Brown, The Ruth and Hartley Barker Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society will introduce the event. A book signing will follow.
Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015 – Book Talk & Signing
Time: 6 pm
Location: Marathon County Public Library, Wausau, Wis.
Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 – Book Talk & Signing
Time: 7 pm
Location: Belleville High School, hosted by Belleville Public Library
Saturday, Nov 14, 2015 – Second Saturday Book Talk & Signing
Time: 9:30 am
Location: Plymouth Arts Center, 520 East Mill Street, Plymouth, Wis. Sponsored by the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center.

To Order

For retail and wholesale orders: Contact the Chicago Distribution Center at 800-621-2736 Fax: 800-621-8476 Email:
For individual orders: Order by phone toll free at 888-999-1669, shop online, or shop in person at the Wisconsin Historical Museum Shop, 30 N. Carroll St., Madison WI 53703
By Jerry Apps
Hardcover: $34.95
336 pages, 192 color and b&w photos and illus., 2 maps, 8 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-87020-724-2

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