AgricultureRice and sugar cane were crops closely identified with proportions of the Lower South. In the antebellum times, both were tied to the slave plantation system as well. Sugar cane enjoyed somewhat greater commercial importance than rice during the pre-Civil War period in Texas. Not only agricultural heritage of the settlers, but also climatic requirements caused sugar cane to be limited almost entirely to areas populated by lower southerners, primarily certain counties fronting on the Gulf of Mexico.
Prior to the 1860, the use of mules was very largely confined to areas where Negro slaves did the fieldwork. There were three distinct regional differences concerning the choice of draft animals within the Antebellum south. In the yeoman dominated Upper South, the horse was the almost universal work animal, giving way only in frontier areas to the ox: but in the Lower South, the mule attained considerable importance.
In contrast to the Lower South, where non-food cash crops were dominant, Corn was to a degree a cash crop in the Upper South, marketed as grain, whiskey or fattened livestock. Throughout the south, the almost universal crop was corn. The cultivation of Corn was characteristic of the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri before the expansion. Probably the Upper South settlers brought the cultivation of corn into Texas as a part of their heritage. As another example, tobacco, which was a major crop in parts of Tennessee and Kentucky, was never raised to any notable extent by upper southerners in Texas. Instead, the larger part of the modest tobacco production of the state was in the hands of German immigrant farmers who settled in among Gulf southerners in several counties of south central Texas.