In Lindsay, Okla. (pop. 3,018), farmers' trucks lumbered into the streets last week with hundreds of bales of an odd-looking crop: a thin cornstalk that seemed in need of a haircut. It was broomcorn, the dry, tasteless straw from which 45 million brooms a year are made. As rapidly as the trucks drew up to the curb, buyers pulled test brushes out of the bales and began bidding. They made a clean sweep of the stocks, and sent the price up to an alltime average high of $400 a ton v. $255 last year.

One reason for the stiff bidding...

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