Bonanza Farms: Working at the Bonanza Farms

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. .

Owners of huge bonanza farms were investors and rarely worked at them. Some never even set foot on their own farms, relying on farm managers and hundreds of transient, temporary workers for spring planting and fall harvest. Each gigantic farm needed hundreds of workers, whose 13-hour days were regulated like military life.

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Bonanza Farms, Prairie Public Broadcasting (2000).

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: The End of an Era
    Video: The bonanza farm era ended quickly, as the boom faded and huge farms proved too expensive to maintain.

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.