Making the Corn Belt: A Geographical History of Middle-Western Agriculture (Midwestern History &) by John C Hudson
Travel | United States
Making the Corn Belt: A Geographical History of Middle-Western Agriculture (Midwestern History &)
John C Hudson
Indiana University Press; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (August 1, 1994)
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Migrants from the Five Islands took corn-livestock agriculture west to the Mississippi Valley, and by 1850 the core of today's Corn Belt was a cultural region developed by a segment of the population whose ancestry could be traced back to the Ohio Valley. Corn Belt agriculture, however, spread northward more slowly than it did westward, partly because of the patterns of migration established in the spread of the frontier. The Civil War demonstrated that, even though its agriculture was distinctive, the larger region was divided in social and political terms.
John Hudson traces these regional-agricultural themes into the rapid technological changes of the 1930s. The introduction of soybeans at about this time helped shift parts of the Corn Belt from livestock feeding to cash-grain production. Some of these trends continue today in parts of the region, while other areas have specialized in cattle feeding as the meat-packing industry has shifted westward.
Farm residents in the 1990s account for less than 2 percent of the national population. In the Middle West today, to be a "farm resident" no longer means what it once did: although nearly two-thirds of the men work primarily on the farm, nearly three-fourths of farm women are principally employed elsewhere. Many farmers have left the land and abandoned the "traditional" farm, but those who remain have been even more productive. The "typical" Corn Belt farm has disappeared, replaced by a small cluster of metal buildings surrounding a suburban tract home.
John C. Hudson takes us to the heart of the Corn Belt and captures the essence of this most "American" region.