New work for Blue Ridge Country: Agriculture’s Industrial Revolution began in the Shenandoah Valley

Compared to the monolithic corn and soybean fields of the Midwest, the rolling hills and valleys of western Virginia feel far removed from large-scale industrial agriculture.

But in the mid-19th century the region contributed heavily to feeding the rapidly growing United States of America, serving as the highest grain-producing region in one of the highest grain-producing states.

The Valley of Virginia also produced in that era a man who would forever leave a mark on American agriculture and business in general: Cyrus McCormick.

McCormick’s invention of the reaper changed food production around the world, and the business practices he and his brothers pioneered are standard today.

Read more about McCormick in the online teaser for my story at Blue Ridge Country. For the full story pick up the Sept./Oct. issue of Blue Ridge Country or read the digital edition here.