Several newspapers in the Society's collection reflect Missouri's agricultural heritage. These papers, aimed at farmers and their families, featured educational and entertaining articles. The majority of the agricultural newspapers in the collection were published from the 1880s through the 1950s.
Two newspapers, the Missouri and Arkansas Farmer and Fruitman and the Missouri and Kansas Farmer, promoted the settlement of southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas and northwest Arkansas. Established in the 1880s, these newspapers printed testimonials from settlers and visitors about the rich agricultural promise of the area.
Other agricultural newspapers promoted improved farming methods. Columns devoted to livestock and poultry raising, dairying, horticulture, and row crops, described characteristics of stock breeds and encouraged farmers to rotate crops and pack fruit properly for shipping. Pages for farm wives provided recipes and dress patterns as well as letters received from readers. The St. Joseph Stock Yards Journal included detailed information about the selling prices and number of livestock brought to the city's stockyards.
The content of agricultural newspapers evolved during the twentieth century. The South Central Ozarks Farmer, a supplement to the Mountain Grove Journal and the Cabool Enterprise during the 1970s, expressed concern about the increasing number of corporate farms. In 1974 the publisher attended a consumer/farmer relations institute that examined "the great middle ground that lies between the farmer and the supermarket grocery cart."
The decline in family farmers in Missouri apparently negatively impacted the publication of agricultural newspapers. There are no newspapers categorized as agricultural in the Society's collection that are dated after 1979.