Special Collections Research Center Teacher Resources: Lesson Guides: Vegetables as Cash Crops, Comparing 1960 to 2010

Vegetables as Cash Crops, Comparing 1960 to 2010

This lesson plan focuses on the comparing the outlook for various vegetable crops grown in North Carolina and their potential as cash crops for farmers in 1960 and today. It asks students to use primary sources from the late 1950s that discuss the potential of various vegetable crops for 1960 to current agricultural resources available on the internet and answer the question "Did this crop become a cash crop as predicted and how? If not, why not?" To view primary source materials beyond those provided here on this topic, please visit NCSU Libraries' Digital Collections: Rare and Unique Materials.

The Common Core standard this lesson guide works with are 8.G.1.1, 8.G.1.3, and 8.E.1 from the North Carolina 8th Grade Social Studies Standards.

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In 1952, an interdisciplinary group was put together at the North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University) School of Agriculture (now the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences) to study and produce 10 year goals for various North Carolina crops. Each potential cash crop for North Carolina was looked at and a report on its history, current statistics on growth and sales, and future potential for growth was put together.

Now, 60 years later, we can assess how good the predictions and plans were and if each crop described in the report is still growing in North Carolina. If it is still growing, thanks to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, we can look into how well it is doing. Considerations such as changes in technology, as well as publicity and public views of that crop should be taken into account when writing your follow up report.

Classroom Project

Split the class into small groups, with each group picking one of the following crops to compare the 1960 report to current day information on that crop. The group's project should detail what the original report said about the crop and then discuss how that crop has fared in North Carolina over the past 60 years up to the present day. Comparison of how much of the crop was grown between 1960 and 2010 and if there have been any changes in where the crop is grown should be included.

Production Chart

Chart comparing 1949 yields and prices to predicted 1966 production that would be useful for all groups

Additional useful information about the initial report produced by the interdisciplinary committee can be found here.

Places to look for information on the crops today include:

  1. http://www.ncagr.gov/stats/coest/index.htm
  2. http://www.ncagr.gov/stats/index.html
  3. www.ces.ncsu.edu/categories/agriculture-food/field-crops/
  4. www.ces.ncsu.edu/categories/agriculture-food/specialty-crops/

To access a print version of the primary sources, click here.

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