First printed in 1926 when rural communication is sparse, Cargill’s publication becomes a trusted source of news for the agricultural community.
In the 1920s, farmers lived isolated lives, considering only 9% of Americans had electricity and just as few had telephones. When the 1926 premiere issue of the Cargill Crop Bulletin first appeared on farmers’ doorsteps, it was the first time that most were able to connect—both with Cargill and each other.
To bring useful information to its network of rural suppliers, Cargill began printing ten issues each year out of its headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, issuing detailed grain-growing reports that covered conditions in the US and Canada. It was a revolutionary resource, containing concise and accurate information gathered by Cargill from a host of suppliers and dealers across North America. For the farming community, it quickly became an essential source of news, providing state-by-state weather summaries, current prices, and other market elements affecting the supply and demand of grain.
With its short, accurate descriptions, the Cargill Crop Bulletin also served as a tool for delivering important changes. In a 1934 issue, the words “we have had some bad dust storms” reported one of the most devastating, drought-ridden eras on record, sorely remembered as the Dust Bowl.
“Getting pretty dry. We need rain. Drove via auto the last two days, trip of 400 miles, and find the corn drying up, fired, and is done for.” — Cargill Crop Bulletin, July 30, 1934
While the Bulletin could not change the weather, it helped farmers understand its widespread effects and prepare for better seasons to come.
As the industry became more sophisticated, so did the report. From the 1960s onward, a series of significant changes would occur: the format was enlarged and the printing frequency adjusted. By the late 1970s, some condition reports had been replaced by coverage on political issues and agricultural policies. This evolution was more officially reflected in 1982, when the publication shortened its name to the Cargill Bulletin.
By the 1990s, other media had become more efficient in reporting weather and crop conditions, lessening the need for the Crop Bulletin. In 1993, the company transformed it into a niche news source, updating the agricultural community on farming policies and global issues. By 2000, Cargill decided to retire the Cargill Bulletin, leaving behind a legacy of content that steered the industry toward profitable growth and international expansion.