Mankato’s Role in the Carp Story
Spurred by meat rationing during World War II, the public turned to eating fresh-water carp, some of which came from Eagle Lake. Contractor Armin Kleinschmidt, native of Mankato, and German-born engineer, Ed Bouda, teamed to form Land of Lakes Canning Company for processing carp as part of Mankato’s effort to feed our troops and the hungry refugees of Europe. Continental Can Company, which had a plant in Mankato, planned much of the processing. Kleinschmidt worked with the Smaller War Plants Corporation, supported by the State Conservation Department, to patent his process. The U. S. Army and Navy became interested and by June 1945 Kleinschmidt had a pilot plant operating. By October the dale of $101,000 in stock was announced. Four million pounds of carp would be harvested. Leonard A. Ford, Head of Science Department at Mankato State Teachers College, became plant chemist. Ford worked out a number of technical problems in the canning process. Price competition forced the industry into bankruptcy in the 1950s.