farmerFounded in 1841 by John S. Wright, the Chicago-based Prairie Farmer is the oldest farm publication in Illinois.

Wright, a businessman and a diligent advocate for Illinois and the welfare of its farmers, founded the paper as a way to connect farmers with the latest farming techniques and issues surrounding crop rotation, fertilization and pest control.

Wright began his endeavor by serving as secretary and general manager of the Union Agricultural Society, for which he began a newspaper, the Union Agriculturist. The merger of the Union Agriculturalist and the Western Prairie Farmer made Wright the owner and the paper’s name was changed to the Prairie Farmer.

The paper featured experts in the field of farming, which was encouraged by Wright. Subscriptions increased exponentially because of the vital information being circulated by the publication.

Subsequently, Illinois agriculture was boosted by Wright’s efforts. 

In 1909, Prairie Farmer was purchased by Burridge Butler and the publication’s circulation was expanded to other Midwestern states. In 1929, Butler purchased WLS Radio in Chicago that he operated under the support of the Prairie Farmer, which brought additional subscribers as a groundbreaking promotional tool. At the height of its reach, the newspaper counted 370,000 subscribers in 1950.

For more information on the Prairie Farmer (

Did You Know