Photo by Natalie Green

Corn has been woven into the fabric of Oklahoma’s history since before the state gained its name.

The multipurpose crop, which is thought to have originated in Mexico, fed and sustained many Native American tribes. The tribes introduced the crop to European immigrants and taught them how to plant and harvest it correctly.

The grain plant is the most widely grown crop in the Americas, mostly due to its durability and ability to thrive in a variety of climates. There are a handful of different corn types – sweet, pop, dent and flint to name a few. Grits, animal feed, bourbon and ethanol are just a few of the many corn byproducts that fuel the state’s economy. According to the USDA state agricultural overview (, Oklahoma produces over 36 million bushels of corn annually for grain alone.

So the next time you rip open a bag of popcorn or dig into a buttered cob, think about the enormous economic impact packed into those small but mighty kernels.

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