Ellen J. Meany
Here's an outline of important events in Wisconsin's long tobacco history, covering business, agriculture and regulation.
1670: Father Jean Claude Allouez reports Indian nations growing tobacco on lands to become Wisconsin.
1766: Jonathan Carver reports tobacco cultivation at Prairie du Chien.
1838: Future Madison Mayor Elisha W. Keyes claims his brother grows a personal crop of tobacco in Jefferson County.
1839: Wisconsin produces 115 pounds of tobacco.
1844: Ralph Pomeroy and J.J. Heistand plant the state's first designated tobacco crop.
1849: Wisconsin produces 1,268 pounds of tobacco.
1851: Tobacco is exhibited at the first meeting of the Agricultural Society and Mechanics Institute in Janesville.
1859: Wisconsin produces 87,340 pounds of tobacco.
1869: Wisconsin produces 960,813 pounds of tobacco.
1879: Wisconsin produces 10,608,423 pounds of tobacco.
Late 1800s-early 1900s: Dozens of tobacco warehouses are built in Edgerton during the crop's golden age, when the community emerged as the heart of the industry in Wisconsin.
1917: Swedish Match founded.
1922: Growers centered in Viroqua in Vernon County organize the Northern Wisconsin Co-Operative Tobacco Pool. It folds in 1937.
1931: Wisconsin tobacco production covers 38,386 acres in 22 counties for a harvest of 76 million pounds; price plummets.
1933-38: Agricultural Adjustment Act set federal standards for growing and selling tobacco, inaugurates price support system.
1938: Tobacco cultivated on 8,310 acres in Dane County, out of 18,400 statewide.
1939: Wisconsin's tobacco crop is valued at $3,669,000 (roughly $56 million in 2009 dollars).
1941: Lancaster Leaf founded.
1952: A paper published in the journal Land Economics, by the University of Wisconsin Press, reports that tobacco is the primary cash crop for 5,500 farmers in Wisconsin, and 7.5% of the total agricultural income in Dane County is from this source. The state haul is about $8 million (roughly $64 million in 2009 dollars).
1969: Philip Morris obtains a controlling interest in Miller Brewing, based in Milwaukee. It acquires the rest of the company the following year.
1972: Edgerton Tobacco Days launches.
1975: Madison adopts the nation's first ordinance regulating smoking, prohibiting it in most public places, including elevators, buses, theaters, museums and common areas of school buildings. This is expanded the following year to include more enclosed spaces.
1985: General Foods, which acquired Oscar Mayer of Madison in 1981, is acquired by Philip Morris.
1989: Philip Morris combines General Foods with Kraft.
1991: The UW-Madison adopts a smoke-free policy, prohibiting smoking inside buildings and vehicles. It is later expanded to include outdoor areas near entrances.
1992: The University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention is founded. It goes on to conduct extensive research and advocacy work in tobacco-use prevention, cessation, and policy.
1992: Madison adopts a plan to phase in a restaurant smoking ban. Restaurants are 100% smoke-free three years later.
1992: USDA Census of Agriculture counts 1,722 Wisconsin farms growing tobacco.
1997: USDA Census of Agriculture counts 950 Wisconsin farms growing tobacco.
1998: Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement reached between four largest U.S. cigarette manufacturers and Attorneys General of 46 states, including Wisconsin. Political controversy follows on how to allocate Wisconsin's share of the $206 billion settlement.
2002: USDA Census of Agriculture counts 452 Wisconsin farms growing tobacco.
2004: Tobacco Transition Program ends the quota and price-support system.
2005: Madison implements indoor smoking ban in bars and other enclosed public spaces; exempts cigar bars and private clubs.
2006: South Wisconsin farmers start test-planting burley tobacco, with investment from Philip Morris.
2007: Philip Morris spins off Kraft (including Oscar Mayer) which becomes a publicly traded company.
2007: Wisconsin implements a smoking ban in colleges and hospitals.
2007: Production contracts to produce organic crops are signed with Wisconsin tobacco farmers, led by the Organic Leaf Cooperative of Viroqua.
2007: Edgerton's Tobacco Heritage Days festival is renamed Edgerton Heritage Days; the name is restored one year later.
2007: USDA Census of Agriculture, the most recent to date, shows that 72 farms in Wisconsin cultivate tobacco; 52 of them are in Dane County.
2007 to 2009: The state's per-pack cigarette tax rises from $.77 to $2.52.
2010: Wisconsin implements a statewide indoor smoking ban, including restaurants and bars.
Kristian Knutsen and Ellen J. Meany contributed to this timeline.