Moline, Illinois has been in the News recently because the plane carrying Prince, the entertainer and musician extraordinaire, landed there for a medical emergency. However, Moline is more than a city that represents the beginning of the end for a legendary icon.
In 1837, it was home to a blacksmith named John Deere who fashioned a Scottish steel saw blade into a steel plow. In the process, he transformed the prairie into the most intense agricultural region of the Midwest. Referred to as the corn belt, this area includes Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan, western Ohio, eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, southern Minnesota, and parts of Missouri. Four of those States, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota, produce more than half of the corn grown in the United States, and collectively the corn belt produces 40% of the world’s corn crop yearly. John Deere and its administrative center are still located in Moline, Illinois.
This may not be the original Deere steel plow, but this is what it looked like. It was hooked to a farm animal, and for the first time ever the dense prairie soil could be cultivated. Once plowed, seeds were laid, and crops sprang forth. Over the years, the design was modified, tractors came into existence and not just John Deere tractors but all kinds of tractors.
We bought the above Deere thinking it the greatest thing ever, and wouldn’t you just know it? The farmer who leases our land rolled this monstrosity into our field and begin running around. Such is progress.