AGRICULTURE. Although stock-raising made considerable progress in the decade 1870-S0. the putting of the land under plow was almost wholly the work of the succeeding decade,. The number of acres included in farms thudded from 1890 to 1900, and amounted in the latter year to 34.6 per cent. of the total area. Of the farm area. 62.1 per cent. was improved. During the same decade the average size of farms increased from 277.4 acres to 342.9 aeres—a larger average than is found in any other State. In 1900, 1346 farms contained over WOO acres each. Excepting that of the 'bad lands.' in the southwest, the soil is not only unusually fertile. but also easily tilled. Its composition is fortunately such as to favor the retention of moisture. Nevertheless. there are occasionally severe droughts.
Everywhere wheat is the dominant crop. In 1899 it constituted 56 per cent. of the total crop area. In the same year the per capita acre age of wheat, 13.9 acres, was larger than in any other State. The Red River Valley, which ex tends entirely across the eastern end of North Dakota, is perhaps the most famous wheat-pro ducing region in the world. In the six counties
bordering the Red River almost half of the total area is devoted to wheat. flats is the next most important cereal. The cultivation of llax in er(lised during the 1S90• 11100 from a few thousand acres to an acreage exceeding that of any other State. Barley is most extensively pro duced in the northeastern counties and corn in the southeastern. Potatoes yield abundantly and are an important crop. But very little fruit is raised.
The following table gives the acreage of the leading crops for the census years indicated: STorK-RAIstxu. The prairie lands afford ex cellent pasturage, and large areas of will salt and prairie grasses are annually out for winter feed. With the exception of mules, all kinds of domestic animals showed large gains from 1890 to 19(10. Cattle and horses are the most important The following table, taken from the census, shows the relative prominence of the principal varieties of farm animals: