Corn Belt

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CORN BELT is the uniquely fertile region of the "prairie triangle" in the upper Mississippi Valley, stretching from Ohio to Nebraska, in which farmers since the mid-nineteenth century have specialized in the corn crop. In 2002, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio together were responsible for almost half of American corn production. Corn-belt farming emphasizes a judicious combination of producing corn both for the market and for fattening swine and beef steers. Since 1960, soybeans have rivaled corn as the leading cash crop. Cultivating domestic grasses and small grains such as oats and winter wheat and dairying are other important agricultural activities in the corn belt.


Cayton, Andrew R. L., and Susan E. Gray, eds. The American Midwest: Essays on Regional History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001.

Hudson, John C. Making the Corn Belt: A Geographical History of Middle-Western Agriculture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.

Robert P.Swierenga/a. e.

See alsoAgriculture ; Cereal Grains ; Corn ; Dairy Industry .

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Corn Belt, major agricultural region of the U.S. Midwest where corn acreage once exceeded that of any other crop. It is now commonly called the Feed Grains and Livestock Belt. Located in the north central plains, it is centered in Iowa and Illinois and extends into S Minnesota, SE South Dakota, E Nebraska, NE Kansas, N Missouri, Indiana, and W Ohio. Large-scale commercial and mechanized farming prevails in this region of deep, fertile, well-drained soils and long, hot, humid summers. The belt produces much of the U.S. corn crop, but agriculture has diversified; soybeans are an important yield. Winter wheat and alfalfa are also significant crops in the area.