Then, it should come as some surprise that farm operating loans in this day and age are typically structured in much the same manner. Modern competition forces more friendly terms. It is routine that the borrower be required to pledge both livestock and growing crops\/future harvest in order to secure operating credit on an annual basis. Farm machinery loans usually require some level of down payment and are secured by mortgage on the item purchased, much like real estate loans. In the farm sector operating money might be borrowed by a community bank, a cooperative farm credit bank or in some cases from the merchants of farming inputs. For instance, I might take out an operating loan from the local bank, a machinery loan from the equipment manufacturer, a seed loan from the seed company and the seller typically carries the mortgage on the farm land.\n\nAlso, we try to grow the crops with commercial value. Here in the Midwest, its the major commodity crops like corn, soybeans, wheat, hogs and cattle. We raise a considerable truck patch to supplement the foodstuffs we buy from The WalMart.\n\nI totally agree. It is very much like how things are set up today. And I agree with your points.\n\nIt's just back then - and for this particular Sharecropping situation - meaning enslaved people being freed -- the premise of that was..... fairytales. There is no way - and the white farmers knew it was NO way for the newly freed men and women to make any of those requirements - and they actually betted on that. Many of them stayed on the same farm they were enslaved on or right down the street - so they [farmers] knew these people had nothing. But, they needed the labor.\n\nI would recommend - if you haven't read them already two books ---- Slavery by Another Name (the PBS documentary is in the other post - it's very good.) as well as The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism they both do a great job explaining how everything worked. I thought they both were fair and well-researched.