By Bruce L. Gardner
American agriculture within the 20th century has given the realm considered one of its nice good fortune tales, a paradigm of productiveness and many. but the tale has its darkish facet, from the plight of the Okies within the Thirties to the farm main issue of the Eighties to ultra-modern matters approximately low crop costs and the effect of biotechnology. U.S. farming over the last century, Bruce Gardner searches out factors for either the notable development and the chronic social difficulties that experience marked the historical past of yankee agriculture. Gardner records either the industrial problems that experience faced farmers and the technological and fiscal changes that experience lifted them from relative poverty to financial parity with the nonfarm inhabitants. He offers a close research of the factors of those traits, with emphasis at the function of presidency motion. He reports how commodity aid courses, pushed by means of interest-group politics, have spent 1000s of billions of bucks to little goal. still, Gardner concludes that via reconciling competing financial pursuits whereas fostering productiveness progress and financial integration of the farm and nonfarm economies, the general twentieth-century position of presidency in American agriculture within reason seen as a triumph of democracy. (20030101)
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Extra resources for American Agriculture in the Twentieth Century: How It Flourished and What It Cost
The results of these technological advances appear in increased labor productivity to some extent, but the gains are most apparent in yield data— output per acre, milk per cow, meat per pound of feed. S. agriculture using such yield data for selected products. 4b. 4a shows much larger yield gains in later years, suggesting an acceleration of productivity growth. For example, annual milk yield rose by 2,900 pounds per cow during the 1980s, but by only 1,700 pounds per cow during the 1950s. 2 So in rate of growth the 1950s performed better.
Cattle sold actually produced much of their beef value in earlier years. In the years before 1910, the approach used by analysts was to multiply an assumed rate of weight gain to the beginning inventory of cattle. This means the estimated changes from year to year in livestock output did not incorporate production variations resulting from changes in the grass available in pastures or in the feeding rate for a particular year. And changes in productivity that took the form of an increase in the rate of conversion of feed to meat were incorporated only by changing the assumed rate of weight gain.
Many farmers, especially younger ones, use the Internet, but its overall impact remains small. Even when farmers become fully wired, the improvement in information availability will be less spectacular than what radio and telephone made possible. The real information revolution for rural people occurred earlier in the century. In product marketing, technological progress has generated lower costs of transportation for material inputs going to the farm and for products marketed from the farm. These effectively reduce the costs of farm inputs, increase the receipts from output, and increase the comparative advantage of more remote farming areas.