FOLEY -- Farming has long been a tradition in central Minnesota, and for Benton County, it goes way back to the mid-1800s after the land had been cleared of all the trees.

Benton County Historical Society Executive Director Mary Ostby is on the News @ Noon Show on WJON once a month talking about the county's history.

She says early newspaper accounts mention the early crops in the county as venison, cranberries, wild rice, wheat and potatoes.

Benton County Historical Society

The Benton County Agricultural Society was established in 1852 before Minnesota was a state.  Today we know them as being the organizers of the Benton County Fair.

The early immigrants in the eastern part of Benton County were mostly from Finland, Denmark, and Norway.  Meanwhile, the early settlers in the western part of the county were mostly Irish and French Canadians.

Benton County Historical Society

Today 75 percent of the land in Benton County is still farmland.

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