Winner:Wendelin Grimm

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In 1859, Wendelin Grimm and his wife Julianna, German immigrant farmers, purchased acreage in northern Carver County and proceeded to clear the Big Woods and farm the land utilizing the farming practices of their native land. One of these practices was that of seed-saving. A small wooden box that Grimm brought with him contained seed of what was then called everlasting clover. For the next 15 years he religiously planted and collected seed from the plants that survived the Minnesota winters. The result of this selection process was the first winter-hardy alfalfa in North America.

For the first half of this century, Grimm Alfalfa was well known to anyone who had a connection with agriculture. Although at least five other alfalfa introductions were attempted in Canada and the United States, this is the only one that resulted in a winter-hardy strain. It is the source of all modern varieties of alfalfa now grown on more than 25 million acres in the United States and valued at $10 billion dollars annually.

Wendelin Grimm's first alfalfa fields, where it all started, can justifiably be called the birthplace of the Dairy Belt. Retired University of Minnesota agronomy professor Lawrence Elling has stated that Grimm Alfalfa was the single most important agricultural crop development in North America until the development of hybrid corn.

In 1974 the farmstead was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The farm house has been restored and is now used to educate students and the public about the Grimms and early farming techniques and lifestyles.
~Jennifer Cottew, Plymouth, MN

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