Agricultural Policy: The historical sweep

Homestead act--really comes into use nearer 1900

farm making costs quite large, even with free land

Reclamation act ends up benefiting the rich in CA

160 acre limitation, evaded

power subsidy not accounted for (border prices)

Railroad land grants

checkerboard pattern, square miles alternating

gives railroad near monopoly on land nearby

Land Grant Colleges

made ag more productive

got people the hell out of agriculture (Gisser)


sexton, parliament for writings

if there is one store in town and one elevator in town, do you want to own it?

1933- a little less than half on farm.

farm depression preceded crash of 29, so things were miserable for a while.

no welfare program--no checks in mail

works projects admin-

civilian conservation core

rise of Robert Moses and west side highway

two types programs

marketing orders

not entirely conspiracy to raise prices

also response to chaotic markets

"the plum deal" incredibly short seasons

support programs

marketing loans.

had antecedent in govt. attempt to stabilize through futures

Rural Electrification

Farm Credit Bank

9 Old Men

made AAA of 33 illegal

government got around by tying to conservation, also voluntary

Dust Bowl

N.Y. and Washington dark at noon

oakies and arkies

tractored out?

blown out

high plains did not take well to mould board plow, see AJAE cover; every other year cropping to concentrate moisture

no rain avoided surpluses

WWII. lots of demand, restricted labor

Marshall Plan. ditto

Korea ditto

Then the surpluses. Built to huge amount by Kennedy. Compulsory program rejected. H. A. Wallace foresaw the whole thing. Original sec. knew economics.

Number truly on farm has dwindled; no more "farmers"

bimodal farm size-big and very little

wheat particularly subject to returns to scale

trees are great for part timers

tax laws matter a lot for the little guys and for cattle

dairy has become an industry. machines, computers the whole nine yards. chickens pretty much ditto

flowers depend on marketing/ israeli coop

Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (FAIR)