Wessels Living History Farm - York Nebraska Farming in the 1930s
Making MoneyWaterFarm LifeMachinesCrops Pests & WeedsWorld Events

Burning Corn for Fuel

  Fueling a stove  
In normal years before the Depression, farmers in Nebraska and throughout the corn belt grew corn, first to feed their livestock and then to sell as a cash crop. Normally, corn was more profitable when it was fed to cattle which were then sold as meat products.

Walter SchmittBut in the 30s, prices for both livestock and cash crops dropped to rock bottom. In 1925, corn had sold at $1.07 per bushel. By November and December 1932, corn was selling for only 13-cents per bushel.

Walter Schmitt remembers when most homes were heated and food cooked by coal. But by 1932, corn was actually cheaper than coal. So, farmers began burning their harvest rather than selling it. Walter calls those times "preposterous."
LeRoy Hankel
In a similar story, LeRoy Hankel remembers an uncle shipping hogs to market in Omaha by truck. By the time the auction house had deducted the bill for shipping and their commission, the uncle got a total of $1.00 – one dollar – for 1,300 pounds of hogs. Leroy's uncle told him ironically, "I don't know why I cashed that check. I wish I'd [have] framed it!"

Written by Bill Ganzel of the Ganzel Group. First written and published in 2003.

 

Couldn't Even Buy a Job

Go to:
Making Money Water Farm Life Machines Crops Pests & Weeds World Events
 
Wessels Living History Farm
Home
Farming in the 1920s
Farming in the 1930s
Farming in the 1940s Farming in the 1950s Farming in the 1970s Learner Resources
Media Resources
Our Founder
About the Farm
Visit the Farm
Contact For photos and primary sources, Nebraska Studies web site.
Search Media

Farmers graphic