Share cropping could be a raw deal. In the reconstruction South, the landowners shared very little with the black and white farmers. The number of poor whites probably equaled blacks. In years when crops failed, the share-croppers would be near starved if not for little gardens. The old practice broke down when the poor, both blacks and whites, moved north for the emerging industrial jobs.

Share cropping is still practiced on a large scale. The worker’s shares are much better and with modern equipment they can farm enough land to put a nest-egg back. Lots of the vast wheat lands are share cropped. With land as expensive as it is, corporations, doctors, lawyers and other professionals who invest in the land and rely local farmers do the work. Same with cattle operations. Works well in most cases.

I know several who work places on shares. When asked about the land ownership, they tell me it is the farm life they want. Whose name on the title matters little. Few could pay current land prices and make still a living. If anything, it’s the farmers who get the better part of the deal now. There are fewer and fewer willing to choose that life anymore.