The U.S. Wheat Farmer Gets a Good Price for a Bumper Crop

"The U.S. Wheat Farmer Gets a Good Price for a Bumper Crop." Life 3, no. 5: 2 August 1937, 15.

This span of mules is pulling a hayrack full of wheat bundles across the stubble of Jacob Meyers' farm near Lenexa, Kan. A few days before, these bundles were fields of shimmering grass, a blanket of gold against the ground. A few minutes after this picture was taken in late June, they were being fed into a threshing machine and ripped apart into chaff and grain.

All over the vast wheatlands of the U.S.--in a great swathe east and west of the Mississippi and in the foothills of the far Northwest--this ritual of harvest has been going on since mid-June and will continue till mid-September. At this moment the hayracks are rolling and the threshers clanking in the Dakotas. For three months the steam of gold that flows from such bundles will not stop. In a hundred thousand freight cars, in boats and trucks, it will cascade across the country--$1,000,000,000 worth of edible wealth. Not in ten years have U.S. farmers reaped such a crop at such a price--nearly 900,000,000 bushels at more than a dollar a bushel. Years of drought, blight and low markets are forgotten in Nature's 1937 burst of bounty. With the competing wheat basins of Canada, Europe and Asia thinned by drought, with the world's grain reserve diminished by two lean harvests, and with acreage yields of 14 bushels, the U.S. farmer will once more jingle money in his pocket.

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