Ohio's Diverse Agricultural History
All The Way Back To The Civil War
Prior to the Civil War, Ohio had one of the most diverse ag economies anywhere. Ohio farmers grew all kinds of grains, fruits and vegetables. In fact, right up to the Civil War, Ohio was the leading grape producer in the U.S. It lost that status due to a couple of reasons; first a labor shortage brought on by the War so vineyards weren’t looked after properly and then to disease which wiped out most of Ohio’s vineyards.
After the War, Ohio’s farmers focused on two main cash crops, corn and soy, and the primary reason for this was to feed the South which lay in ruins after the War, and its inhabitants needed food. And with the exception of certain pockets still diversified or becoming more so, Ohio’s ag economy still relies heavily on those two main crops.
For decades now including the present, the assumption was that manufacturing, information technology and even financial services may rise and fall as the times change, new modes of business evolve or capital investment wanes and looks elsewhere for the next best thing, but agriculture like the ground underneath it, never moves.