The Corn Belt, one of the many US Belt Regions, is located in the Midwestern region of the United States. The region was given the name Corn Belt due to the extremely high production of corn since the 1850s. Aside from this specific concept, the term is also used to describe regions in the Midwest where agriculture and farming are prevalent. This region’s terrain is generally level with soil rich in fertility and organic soil.
Corn Belt States
Despite having a consensus about what the Corn Belt is, there is a lack of one when it comes to the areas that constitute the belt. However, most descriptions include Iowa, Indiana, eastern Nebraska, western Ohio, Illinois, sections of Missouri, southern Michigan, southern Minnesota, and eastern Kansas. At times, the region also includes South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kentucky, North Dakota, and the entirety of Ohio and Michigan. All these areas have suitable climate and soil that enable them to produce corn and similar crops.
Data from 2008 states that more than 50% of all the corn in the US was produced by four states only; namely Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Illinois. However, Iowa and Illinois can be considered as the two states that make up the heart of the belt since their combined corn production accounts for a third of the total corn production in the country.
The most productive region in Iowa for corn and other crops is the northeastern section of the state. Aside from corn, Iowa is also a leading producer of ethanol and soybeans. In 2008 alone, 19% of the total corn production in the US came from Iowa while 17% of the total soybean production also came from Iowa. Other agricultural products include eggs, oats, and dairy products.
Illinois is also a leading national producer of both corn and soybeans. In fact, Iowa and Illinois are either first or second every year in terms of corn and soybean production. Aside from these two, it is also a leader in ethanol production. In a year, the corn production from the state averages around 1.5 billion bushels.
Growth of the Corn Belt
In order to understand how the region became so crucial in the production of corn, then it is important to have an understanding of the history of the place. The emergence of the current agricultural superiority began between 1860 and 1870, which was a time that saw plenty of technological developments in the agricultural sector. Over the years, the region has improved even more into what it is today. At least 40% of the global corn production can be attributed to the Corn Belt. In the US, most of the corn is used as livestock feed. Most of the farms in the belt average at least 300 acres and are owned and operated by families. Aside from the high production of corn, the area is also known for its high soybean production.