Farmers had to face many different challenges, that were out of their control, while making a living. Early farmers had to work very hard to keep their crops and animals healthy. There was no insurance to make sure that they still received money if there were crop failures or animals got sick. Many of the first homesteaders failed and moved way.
PHOTO CREDIT: WESTERN DEVELOPMENT MUSEUM
There were endless jobs for settlers that required heavy duty labour, such as picking all of the rocks off their land by hand.
There are a variety of reasons why crops failed. The soil could be too dry or too moist, the weeds could take over a field, or extreme temperature could prevent the crops from growing. Insects caused major problems and in some years, grasshoppers destroyed entire crops.
Too much rain or too little rain could cause crop failures.
If the crops were poor, the farmer might not have enough food for their family and animals. They also would struggle to have enough leftover seed to use for planting the next year.
Insects caused some serious damage on crops and in some years, grasshoppers destroyed entire crops.
Animal Illness and Predators
The farmers relied on the animals for their survival and tried to protect the animals from becoming sick. If the animals became sick it could affect the farmer’s ability to work in the fields, travel, and supply food to their families. If the animal became sick enough, the farmer could travel to town to purchase veterinary supplies.
Foxes could be predators for smaller farm animals, such as chickens.
Settlers had to do their best to protect their farm animals, who were at risk from predators such as wolves, coyotes, and foxes.