Local News

After months of research, historians have discovered a once-secret plot of farmland that served as a testing ground for the first hybrid corn breeding experiment in northern Illinois.

On Monday, that small patch of land along Nelson Road in DeKalb was recognized with a state historical marker.

Reports indicate the experimental plot was created in 1925 and produced a yield 35 percent greater than the open-pollinated variety.

The historical marker notes some of DeKalb County's other agricultural innovations, including its status as the birthplace of barbed wire.

The hybrid corn plot was difficult to find because it was originally a secret, said County historian Sue Breese.

It was also small - originally the size of a garden at about half an acre. Its creators revealed it only after a few years, when it became a clear success.

The marker shows the spot, on Nelson Road off Route 38.

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