Bonanza Farms: The End of an Era

The bonanza farm era ended quickly, as the soil was depleted by 25 years of continuous wheat growing, prices changed, and huge farms proved too expensive to maintain. Never intendeded as long-term investments, but get-rich-quick schemes, the bonanza farms were doomed and ended by the Great Depression.

Bonanza farms, enormous and productive, were the unique outcome of railroad building and settlement enticement in the late 1800s in the Red River Valley. Covering thousands of acres and utilizing hundreds of workers, the farms and their relatively brief history are featured through interviews, photographs, and contemporary media coverage.

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Bonanza Farms, Prairie Public Broadcasting.

Grade Level

3 - 12

Subject Matter

Social Studies, Science

Related Media

  1. Bonanza Farms: The First Farm
    Video: The first bonanza farms spurred more investors to put money into North Dakota's growing agriculture-based economy.
  2. Bonanza Farms: Bonanza Farms and the Millers
    Video: New milling techniques accelerated the bonanza farm boom. Previously, the hard spring wheat that best grew in North Dakota did too much damage to milling equipment to make it profitable.
  3. Bonanza Farms: Working at the Bonanza Farms
    Video: The people who worked at bonanza farms often were seasonal workers. As many as 30,000 workers traveled through Fargo-Moorhead during the height of the bonanza boom.

Related Links

Bonanza Farms
Bonanza Farms, the Prairie Public production, explains the history of bonanza farms in North Dakota. Website includes teacher resources and other information.