Fields of soybeans stretch as far as the eye can see along State Route 62 north of Buffalo.
Putnam County is much more than a bedroom community for Charleston and Huntington. The county is also home to some of the most productive soybean fields in the USA.
West Virginia is not a big producer of soybeans because the state lacks flat ground. The top soybean producing counties are Jefferson and Berkeley in the eastern panhandle and Mason and Cabell along the Ohio River. The wide river bottoms along the Kanawha provide enough soybean acreage for Putnam to rank 5th in the state in production.
While West Virginia soybean production ranks low nationally, the yield per acre is high, averaging more than 50 bushels per acre. USDA records between 2012 and 2018 reveal that West Virginia had the highest per acre soybean yield in the entire country in 2012.