The Cattle Industry
"Yet again I roll my eyes. Why set this one so far back from the restrooms? And wouldn't it fit much better on the eastbound lanes of the rest area? Two questions ... in a row ... for one historic marker." -- Journal Entry, April 2008
Original Date Visited: 4/22/08
Notes: I've received many questions about this one over the years. The only way to access this marker is by traveling the eastbound lanes of I-80. Since most of you will be coming from Reno this presents a problem. Leave the interstate at Exit 261 (SR 306 to Beowawe) then make a solid U-turn back onto westbound 80. Drive the 1 mile to next immediate exit for "Rest Area." Although this marker is located at a rest area you'd think it'd be easy to spot. Find this poorly placed hidden at the west-end of the rest area surrounded in a conclave of trees well away from the first immediate parking spaces!
The numerous valleys of Nevada have supported a vigorous cattle industry since the 1850's. Beginning in the western part of the state, cattlemen ranged their herds throughout northern Nevada by the 1870's. The completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 was the catalyst that created a prosperous industry. Longhorns from Texas were driven to fertile valleys for feeding, then shipped as far as Omaha and San Francisco to market.
As the mining boom subsided, Nevada's ranches kept the state alive in the late 19th century. Improvements in breeding stock and winter feeding helped build vast ranching empires for hard working stockmen. Today, more than 90 per cent of Nevada's crop land is devoted to feed for cattle. For more than a century, Nevada has been a principal food producer for the nation.
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