The Agricultural Adjustement Act - May 19th,1933

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The Agricultural Adjustement Act - May 19th,1933

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Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother"click on picture for her other works


Click to hear LeRoy Hankel's experience with the AAA.

During the Great Depression, more crops and livestock were being produced than consumed which drove prices down. As a result the farmer's wage's suffered; They could no longer provide for their families, farms, or themselves. The federal govenment took action and sought to fix the agriculural economy through the Agricultural Adjustement Act of 1933. This photograph was taken by Dorothea Lange who was an influential photojounalist. She worked for the Farm Security Administation. Her photographs portrayed the living conditions of the American farmer and the adversities of the Great Depression.




Henry Wallace was Roosevelt's vice president. He was the Secretary of Agriculutre at the time of the Great Depression. Most of his implementations in the Agriculutral Ajdustment Act were overbearing. For example he ordered six millon pigs to be slaughtered and ten millon acres of cotton to be ploughed. For this he earned the nickname "The Greatest Butcher in Christendom." His actions may have been brutal, but he left a positive legacy with his programs that advanced agricultural science and research.

The AAA efforts effectively helped increase the prices of basic crops. Some states experienced a thirty percent increase in their prices. Although their results did not end the Great Depression, their was small improvement in the wages of the farmers who benefitted from the act. In 1935 large scale farmers saw a fifty percent increase in their wages. The success wasn't enjoyed by everyone, but as Franklin Deleno Rooselvelt summarizes it:

The federal government fixed production quotoas and issued farmers subsidies to control the prices of crops and livestock. For the first time congress controlled the output of basic crops such as corn, wheat, cotton, rice, tobacco, and milk. They paid farmers to plant less of these items. The photograph above shows this. Most farmers could not afford to not take this opportunity. However some rejected the opportunity because they felt as if the governement was infringing on their freedoms.

The Agricultural Adjustement Act May 13th, 1933

The Agricultural Adjustment Act was declared unconsitutional in 1936 through the court case US vs. Bulter; It's federal regulations over powered local authorities' regulations. Even though the act was gone, its ideas continued to affect and influence other agricultural regulations. The Agricultual Adjustment Act promoted large scale farming. Modern demographics and the decrease of farmers was another result of the act. Addtionally its ideas set the basis for modern day agricultural programs like the modern day school lunch programs. Its amendement in 1935 enabled the president to purchase the surplus of crops to then donate to schools.

"I want to thank you for your patience with us, your Government. I want to pledge to you not only our wholehearted cooperation as you go forward, but our continued deep interest in a problem that is not just a farmer's problem because, as I have said before, your prosperity is felt in every city home, in every bank and in every industry in the land."Primary Resources: Address on Agricultural Adjustment Act, 1935

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