The Amazing Ohio Corn Boys
An early, interesting chapter of agricultural education focused on the next generation of farmers in the state.
Corn clubs, or “school agricultural clubs,” began around 1900. Boys cultivated a plot of corn and then competed with each other on yield per acre and production costs per bushel statistics.
Muskingum County Century Farm owners Bill and Sue Reed of Muskingum County are related to one of the Ohio Corn Boys: Sue’s grandfather, Walter Studor.
In 1917, Walter took third place in the state’s yield contest and won a trip to Washington, D.C. He also won a four-year scholarship to Ohio State University in Agriculture, from which he graduated in 1924. Walter would go on to teach Vocational Agriculture in Woodsfield, Ohio before moving back to his family’s farm. He left quite a mark on local agriculture, with involvement in the Soil Conservation Service, COBA, Farm and Home Administration County Committee, Muskingum County Fair Board, ASCS, Grange, and his local school board.
Several organizations worked to establish the country’s Corn Boy Clubs, including USDA, land grant colleges, and public schools. The clubs were successful. Their success even impacted older generations as the Corn Boys’ parents watched and learned about ways to improve corn production.