SEGMENT: CROPS, HYBRIDS, & FARM BUSINESS

Jacqueline Jackson>ISM Interviews A-L>ISM Interviews A-L, Segment 28

SEGMENT: CROPS, HYBRIDS, & FARM BUSINESS,

duration 10:34
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CROPS
To dry the crop they would make a sling that hung ten ears. When it was dry you would make a corn dolly - big squares of thick cotton material sectioned into one hundred boxes. One kernel of corn would go in each box, then you roll it up and wet it and store it for a few days to let it germinate. The first time they did this their first row was all germinated, the next row all but one, and so on. They went to Andy Wright at the U of W and he told them their dolly was too big and wouldn't let the kernels breath. So they made smaller ones and it worked fine. They would have local boys to detassel the corn. When their operation grew, Jackie's dad would put an ad in the paper and city boys would come to the farm to detassel for a quarter an hour.
FARM BUSINESS
The big companies forced out many of the small farmers. They were patenting their inbreds making it very difficult to be a hybrid dealer.
HYBRIDS
R. A. Brink was working on hybrids at the University of Wisconsin. By 1929 over 150 hand pollinated breeds had been done by the U of W. They opened it up to farmers in 1935. All the neighbors and nearby farmers switched to hybrid corns. Open pollinated corn cost less ($2 a bushel vs. $7 a bushel in 1937) hybrid corn had a much greater yield. Signs let you know what corn is planted where. Her dad had planted corn for a husking contest. A big storm came the night before and knocked it down. So he took down all the signs so no one would know that was his corn. Hybrids are bred for stalk strength, increased yield, against pests/fungi, increased sweetness, and other good qualities. Her daughter is a nutritionist who tells her things about consuming hybrids vs. open pollinated corn. Jackie's dad had about 80 salesmen who sold hybrid corn. They mainly sold in Northern Illinois/ Southern Wisconsin, but they even sold as far away as South Dakota. They would also go to fairs to market their corn.