The Farming Industry

               Farming has been, and continues to be, an important industry, particularly in the northern and western parts of the county. Although a farmer might concentrate on one type of animal or crop (for example dairy farmers who depend on cows), the majority of Warren County farmers relied on a number of different crops. Farmers used what they produced in many different ways. Some of what was produced could be used by the farmer’s own family. Until relatively recently, farmers could trade produce, such as eggs and butter, for supplies at local stores. Produce could be sold locally, and as transportation improved throughout the nineteenth century, produce from Warren County could be shipped to increasingly larger markets throughout the country.

               Bad weather or destructive pests could ruin a farmers entire crop. Local and national markets determined the price that the farmer’s produce would receive. Because of these things, a farmer’s life was very changeable. A series of good crops and good market years could bring financial success, and a series of bad crops and bad market years could bring debt and even ruin.

               Although farms might be isolated, farmers themselves could not afford to be so. Throughout the nineteenth century, especially in the early part, work bees allowed farmers to accomplish tasks which would be difficult or impossible to do alone. These bees included husking bees to husk corn, cutting bees to cut winter wood, and quilting bees to finish quilts for the family. Societies such as the Grange, which was founded shortly after the Civil War, helped farmers to organize both socially and politically.  Early agricultural fairs allowed farmers to exchange ideas about new techniques, to discuss problems, to show off their skills and their products, and to enjoy themselves.  Today's County Fairs are direct descendants of these early agricultural fairs.

Additional Resources:

Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society