SEGMENT: FARMING DURING GREAT DEPRESSION, CHANGES IN FARMING METHODS, & FARM BUSINESS

Charles Shuman>UIS Collection S>UIS Collection S, Segment 15

SEGMENT: FARMING DURING GREAT DEPRESSION, CHANGES IN FARMING METHODS, & FARM BUSINESS,

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FARMING DURING GREAT DEPRESSION
Farm prices collapsed after WWI. Farmers had geared up to produce more, then it was over. 1920s protectionist legislation by congress a bad idea. Foreign countries could not afford to pay, so did not sell to U.S. They bought goods elsewhere, too. So we lost our markets. Depression started early for farmers. He started farming in 1929; economy was booming in general; bought used equipment.
CHANGES IN FARMING METHODS
Prices fell for crops from 1929 to 1933 bottom. He was inexperienced and used to horses, so he struggled to adapt to tractors. Hired a man to help him farm 300 acres. Father not well. Bought eight horses and new Farm-All tractor with plow and disc and used machinery.
LIVESTOCK
Bought a few bred gilts for hog business, then a few pure-bred Angus to start herd. Bought five bred cows and some calves & raised them on rough land. Sold calves & kept heifers. Increased hogs till they used almost all grain grown.
FARM BUSINESS
1929 had rainy spring, so planted late and yield down. Had borrowed $5000, highest debt $7000. Interest rates 3.5% in 1929. Rates varied for 40 years with political considerations. Since Federal Reserve System, lot of manipulation of rate by politicians. He has paid from 2.5 to 8 per cent.
FARMING DURING GREAT DEPRESSION
No expansion of farm during Depression. Did not buy equipment, fertilizer, limestone, new breeding stock, or machinery. Worst shock was Bank Holiday after Roosevelt elected. His bank reopened in short time. People bartered. Farmers were self-sufficient, while workers were on relief. He married in 1933 to a math teacher (who had some savings). The Depression lasted until WWII broke out.