farming becomes a business
by shelbi paniccia
agriculture in the Mississippi Valley region underwent major changes after the Civil War. A farm began to be viewed as an outdoor factory and growing crops as production. In the late 1800s, rural dwellers started to purchase household goods, tools, and clothing rather than fashioning these items themselves. Montgomery Ward produced the first such catalog, followed closely by Sears & Roebuck. Because of the size of their businesses, they could negotiate for better rates from the railroads for transportation of their produce. In the south, large-scale commercial agriculture changed the rural way of life. Entrepreneurial capitalists of the New South extended the business of agriculture beyond the old plantations and into regions of small farms. Many acquired large holdings of land in the post-Reconstruction south at the expense of small farmers. The "crop lien" system was one method of the commercialization of southern agriculture. A planter or merchant extended a line of credit at high interest rates to a poor farmer in exchange for a lien on the farmer’s crop
the farming in the winter were brutal. the snow came up 3in and did't melt till April which means the farmers did not have that much pay.
The planter or merchant who extended the credit was often seen as a villain. Their risk was high, however. If the farmer’s crop failed, there was nothing to pay the debt off with and the seed and supplies were already gone.