The value of a Soil Conservation District to assist the people in Alpena and Montmorency Counties in their soil and water conservation problems, as first discussed with the local people by the Agricultural Extension Agent. Meetings were held with service clubs, church groups, rural school teachers, and farm organizations to discuss the advisability of organizing a Soil Conservation District. In the spring of 1948, the County Agricultural Planning Committee, composed of one delegate from each of the seven subordinate Granges, sixteen Community Farm Bureaus and Junior Farm Bureau, selected as on of their goals the establishment of a Soil Conservation District.
Each delegate discussed the proposed Soil Conservation District with his local community group. Each group signed petitions asking for a public hearing. Petitions carrying approximately 500 signatures were submitted to the State Soil Conservation Committee. Each delegate was then assigned the responsibility of having delegates to the public hearing.
A public hearing was held the evening of October 7, 1948 at the Wilson Town Hall for the purpose of expressing opinions for and against the creation of a Soil Conservation District. The expression of opinions was in favor of creating a District.
Number of votes for creation of the District. . . . 286
Number of votes against creation of the District . 11
Total number of votes cast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297
The first organizational meeting was held on December 20, 1948 with the following officers elected:
William Scott, Chairman
Ferdinand Dohn, Vice-Chairman
Stanley Zaborney, Treasurer
Ralph Trafelet, Secretary to the District Directors.
FARMING CONDITIONS IN 1945
The 1945 census shows that there are 1215 farms being operated with a total of 168,710 acres. The average acreage per farm is 139 acres. The soil types vary from the clay loams to the light sandy loams with areas of rock out cropping, with the greater area being of the sandy loam type. Numerous areas of wet sands and muck are interspersed in the areas of clay loams and sandy loams. The soils for the most part were formed from limestone. The topography of land is chiefly level to rolling with steeper slopes interspersed. A large acreage of the land is unsuitable for farming because of stoniness and soil type and is best suited for forest and recreational use.
Approximately 10% of the total land area is state owned. Numerous large areas of non-agricultural lands are in private hunting clubs.
Dairy and potatoes have been the most important farm enterprises. They have made up the major farm income. However the potato acreage is steadily declining due to diseases attacking the potato crop. The past year the potato acreage was approximately 1450 acres. Raspberry acreage has steadily increased. There are approximately 900 acres now being grown. Wheat and Barley acreage are increasing. These small grains are replacing potatoes in the rotation. The growing of vetch in the wheat is furnishing another source of income.
1945 Census1997/2000 Census NUMBER OF FARMS 1215 412 APPROXIMATE LAND AREA (acres) 363,520 444,055 LAND IN FARMS (acres) 168,710 78,047 AVERAGE SIZE OF FARMS (acres) 139 189 CROPLAND HARVESTED (acres) 55,582 54,842 WOODLAND PASTURES (acres) 69.351 7.263 WOODLAND NOT PASTURED (acres) 15,891 Not Available WOODLAND TOTAL (acres) 85,242 Not Available CORN FOR ALL PURPOSE (acres) 2,818 5,735 (Corn for grain/seed) OATS THRESHED (acres) 8,550 3,100 RYE (acres) 114 Not Available WINTER WHEAT (acres) 3,861 2,160 BARLEY (acres) 1,732 500 POTATOES (acres) 2,954 Under 500 RASPBERRIES (acres) 575 Under 500 ALFALFA HAY (acres) 19,354 24,500 CLOVER AND TIMOTHY (acres) 9,183 Not Available ALL CATTLE AND CALVES 19,354 10,500 COWS, MILKED 9,656 2,900 ALL HOGS AND PIGS 2,955 Under 500 ALL SHEEP AND LAMBS 5,148 Under 500 ALL CHICKENS 46,502 1,000