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State Historical Society of Iowa

Field Workers Harvesting Sweet Corn in Grimes, Iowa, August 1946

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Five adult men seen walking in mature corn field, harvesting ears of sweet corn.  One ear is seen in the air being  tossed into wagon of harvested ears.  Two additional horse-drawn wagons hauling harvested ears of sweetcorn are seen in the background.
Courtesy of the State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines Register & Tribune, August 1946


For about five weeks in the summer, many people in Iowa enjoy fresh from the field sweet corn. In this photo, field workers are harvesting sweet corn for the Beaver Valley Canning Company (later called the Grimes Canning Company) on the farm of Jesse Taylor near Grimes, Iowa. Even though sweet corn is only a small percentage of the corn grown in Iowa, it is the corn that we buy canned or frozen from the grocery store. The kernels on field corn are removed from the cob in the field, but the ears of sweet corn must remain whole until they get to the canning factory.

Source-Dependent Questions

  • What technology is helping these workers to do their job?
  • How is this similar to and different from how corn is harvested today?