Save the Best for Next Year

Melissa SandfortAgricultural Anthropology

Today, most farmers have other occupations to supplement their income. They farm, they run a trucking operation, they sell anhydrous, they sell seed corn, they run a grain elevator. I think I just described my brother to a “T” as one of his other duties as assigned is a seed corn dealer. Every year, people come to him to buy enough seed for the next planting season.

But it wasn’t always this way.

This is a hand-crank corn sheller used by my great-grandfather back in the late ‘teens and early ‘20s. It was mounted on a wooden box so the corn would drop down into it. If you insert the cob in the basket at the top, turn the crank, then separate and keep the more uniform kernels, you’d have enough to plant a crop the following year.

An efficient sheller would get about 10-15 bushels of shelled corn per hour, or approximately 10 seconds per ear.

That sure is different than calling up my brother and having him deliver enough seed to plant 2,000 acres of corn.

Until our next history lesson …