How a farmer makes money – which crops or livestock are raised and sold – depends on where he or she lives. The type of soil, amount of rain, temperature and the length of a growing season all affect how a farmer makes money.
- York County, Nebraska, is on the western edge of the “Corn Belt.” This is a region running from central Nebraska, through Iowa, northern Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio where most of the corn in the U.S. was grown in the 1930s and is still grown today.
- Further west in Nebraska and other Great Plains states, it was (and still is) much drier and so cattle ranches were the main type of agriculture.
- Winter wheat was grown across Kansas, western Oklahoma, Missouri and the other Corn Belt states. Spring wheat grew well in North and South Dakota’s short summer.
- Across the Southeast, warm and wet conditions were best for growing cotton.
- Fruits and vegetables were grown mostly in California, Florida and the mid-Atlantic states.
- Milk was produced around the Great Lakes areas of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and the northern-Atlantic states.
While some crops were commonly grown in an area, most farmers during the 30s grew several crops, a large garden and a few cows or hogs. As
Carla Due remembers, a farmer’s main crop might have been corn or wheat, but in between harvest times cream and eggs were the source of cash during the 30s. “That was our money flow,” Carla says.
Millie Opitz remembers what happened when they spilled the can of cream on the way to town. “There went our money for gas and groceries.”
Beginning in 1933, payments from the government became a more and more important source of cash for farmers.
Written by Bill Ganzel of the Ganzel Group. First written and published in 2003.