The Corn Belt is a region of the
Midwestern United States The Midwestern United States, also referred to as the Midwest or the American Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a pri ...
that, since the 1850s, has dominated
corn production in the United States The production of corn ('' Zea mays mays'', also known as "maize") plays a major role in the economy of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguo ...
. In the United States, "corn" is the common word for "maize". More generally, the concept of the "Corn Belt" connotes the area of the Midwest dominated by farming and agriculture.


There is lack of consensus regarding the constituents of the Corn Belt, although it often includes: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan, western Ohio, eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, southern Minnesota, and parts of Missouri.Hart (1986) It also sometimes includes: South Dakota, North Dakota, all of Ohio, Wisconsin, all of Michigan, and Kentucky.U.S. Department of Agriculture
/ref> The region is characterized by level land, deep fertile soils, and a high organic soil concentration.Corn Belt
Encyclopædia Britannica Online
As of 2008, the top four corn-producing states were Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Minnesota, accounting for more than half of the corn growth in the United States.USDA State Fact sheets
/ref> More recently, the USA corn belt was mapped at the county level using the Landuse and Agricultural Management Practices web-Service (LAMPS),
Kipka et al. 2016, Development of the Land-use and Agricultural Management Practice web-Service (LAMPS) for generating crop rotations in space and time, Soil & Tillage Research, Vol 155, p, 233-249.
along with animated maps of changes in time (2010-2016).
Green et al. 2018, Where is the USA Corn Belt, and how is it changing? Sci. Total Environment, Vol. 618, p. 1613-1618.


On account of new agricultural technology developments between 1860 and 1970, the Corn Belt went from producing mixed crops and livestock into becoming an area focused strictly on wheat-cash planting. After 1970, increased crop and meat production required an export outlet, but global recession and a strong dollar reduced exports and created serious problems even for the best farm managers. In 1956, former Vice President Henry A. Wallace, a pioneer of hybrid seed, declared that the Corn Belt has developed the "most productive agricultural civilization the world has ever seen". Most corn grown today is fed to livestock, especially hogs and poultry. In recent decades soybeans have grown in importance. The U.S. produces 40% of the world crop. By 1950, 99% of corn has been grown from hybrids.

EPA Ecoregion

In 1997, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, USEPA published its report on List of ecoregions in the United States (EPA), United States' ecoregions, in part based on "land use". Its "Level III" region classification contains three contiguous "Corn Belt" regions, Western Corn Belt Plains (ecoregion), Western (47), Central (54), and Eastern (55), stretching from Indiana to eastern Nebraska.

Panoramic view

See also

* Banana Belt * Breadbasket * Canadian Prairies, Canada's 'Breadbasket' * Central Black Earth Region, segment of the Eurasian chernozem belt that lies within Central Russia * Palliser's Triangle, Canada's semi-arid grain production region * Peak wheat


Further reading

* Anderson, J. L. ''Industrializing the Corn Belt: Agriculture, Technology, and Environment, 1945-1972'' (2009) 238 pp.  * Bogue, Allan. ''From Prairie to Corn Belt: Farming on the Illinois and Iowa Prairies in the Nineteenth Century'' (1963
excerpt and text search
* Cayton, Andrew, et al. eds. ''The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia'' (2006
excerpt and text search
* Hart, John Fraser. "Change in the Corn Belt", ''Geographical Review'', Jan 1986, Vol. 76#1 pp. 51–72 * Hudson, John C. ''Making the Corn Belt: A Geographical History of Middle-Western Agriculture'' (1994) * Power, Richard Lyle. ''Planting Corn Belt Culture: The Impress of the Upland Southerner and Yankee in the old Northwest'' (1953) * Snapp, Roscoe R. ''Beef Cattle Their Feeding and Management in the Corn Belt States'' (1950) * Smith, C. Wayne, et al. ''Corn: Origin, History, Technology, and Production'' (2004
online edition
* Wallace, Henry Agard. ''Henry A. Wallace's Irrigation Frontier: On the Trail of the Corn Belt Farmer 1909'' 15 articles written by Wallace in 1909; 1991 edition edited by Richard Lowitt, and Judith Fabry {{Coord, 41, N, 90, W, region:US_scale:5000000, display=title Agricultural production in the United States Agriculture in Illinois Agriculture in Indiana Agriculture in Iowa Agriculture in Kansas Agriculture in Michigan Agriculture in Ohio Agriculture in Minnesota Agriculture in Missouri Agriculture in Nebraska Agriculture in Wisconsin Economy of the Midwestern United States Midwestern United States Belt regions of the United States Maize production Agricultural belts Ecoregions of Indiana