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COLUMN – A Step Back in Time... “Wheat - the Cash Crop”

By Lyle Holmgren - December 29, 2020

The Holmgren family of Tremonton goes back four generations of pioneers and developers in the Bear River Valley that helped bring growth and prosperity to the community.

Lyle Holmgren of Tremonton started posting historical community photos and information on social media and has granted The Valley Headliner – permission to publish his work.

“Wheat – the Cash Crop”

In the 1930’s wheat became an increasingly important cash crop for farmers in the midwest and here in Box Elder County partly because of another invention – toast. In 1928, the automatic bread slicer was perfected. Two years earlier, the automatic toaster was introduced. The two inventions helped change the breakfast habits of much of the nation.

The mechanized combine, a technological wonder, named for combining the three-step harvesting process of reaping, threshing and winnowing into a single a relatively speedy operation was perfected. Fundamentally, the technology has been around since the 1800's. The basic concept though hasn't changed even to today.

Combines made harvesting wheat a much more efficient and economical operation – although still a dirty job.

Notice, in this picture, there isn't a bin to store the threshed grain on the combine. The three (at least) person crew required someone on the tractor to pull the combine, an operator and another to fill and sew the burlap bags. The bags would be released into ricks on the ground and later would be picked up and hauled to a grain bin or commercial elevator for storage

Here, my father, Wayne Holmgren and a hired man harvesting wheat in Hansel Valley. The cat driver is probably taking the picture. ca. 1935.

Photo courtesy of Lyle Holmgren


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