What is a Cash Crop

What is a Cash Crop?

cash cropMost York County farmers harvested enough corn, wheat, and oats to sell for cash so they were known as cash crops. In the spring, many farmers had to borrow money from a bank to buy seeds for planting. After the crops were harvested, many farmers stored the corn and grain in bins while they watched the market price. If the price went up, they hurried to sell their crop. Farmers repaid their bank loans only after selling their crops.

The town of Benedict was among the first in the state to organize a cooperative grain company 1902 which helped farmers pool buying and selling power. In addition to cash crops, farmers grew oats, alfalfa, barley, and milo (sorghum) to feed cattle, hogs, sheep, horses, and chickens. With low market prices and unpredictable weather, it paid to diversify in the 1920s.

Written by Claudia Reinhardt.

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