Growing a Nation

Historical Timeline — 1940

Economic Cycles

1939-45
World War II; wartime recovery
1946-70
Postwar boom

 

 

 

Farm Economy

1945-60
Expansion of vertical integration, especially in the broiler industry

Farmers & the Land

1940
Total population: 131,820,000; farm population: 30,840,000; farmers 18% of labor force; Number of farms: 6,102,000; average acres: 175; irrigated acres: 17,942,968

1940s
Many former southern sharecroppers migrate to war-related jobs in cities

 

 

 

Farm Machinery & Technology

1940-49
Commercial fertilizer use: 13,590,466 tons/year

1940
One farmer supplies 10.7 persons (est.)

1941-45
Frozen foods popularized

1942
Spindle cottonpicker produced commercially

1945-70
Change from horses to tractors and increasing technological practices characterize the second American agricultural revolution; productivity per acre begins sharp rise

1945
10-14 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (2 acres) of corn with tractor, 3-bottom plow, 10-foot tandem disk, 4-section harrow, 4-row planters and cultivators, and 2-row picker; 42 labor-hours required to produce 100 pounds (2/5 acre) of lint cotton with 2 mules, 1-row plow, 1-row cultivator, hand hoe, and hand pick

Crops & Livestock

1940s and 1950s
Acreages of crops, such as oats, required for horse and mule feed drop sharply as farms use more tractors

1945-55
Increased use of herbicides and pesticides

1947
U.S. cooperates with Mexico to prevent spread of foot-and-mouth disease

Transportation

1942
Office of Defense Transportation established to coordinate wartime transport needs

Agricultural Trade & Development

1940-49
Agricultural exports: $2.42 billion/year or 22% of total exports

1940-46
Overseas assistance during wartime emergency

1945
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration established

1945
Food and Agriculture Organization of the Untied Nations established

1946
International Emergency Food Council established

1947
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) establishes working procedures that have substantially reduced tariffs between member nations

1948
Foreign Assistance Act provides for European Recovery Program

1949
International Wheat Program

Life on the Farm

1940
58% of all farms have cars; 25% have phones; 33% have electricity

 

 

 

Farm Organizations & Movements

1947
National Farm Labor Union (formerly Southern Tenant Farmers Union) organizes strike among California farmworkers

Agricultural Education & Extension

1940
584,000 students enrolled in agricultural courses

1941
Extension agents work in every rural county in the country, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico

1946-54
Land-grant college enrollment increases greatly as veterans enroll under G.I. bill

Government Programs & Policy

1941
National Victory Garden Program launched; Steagall Amendment provides for price support to expand production of nonbasic commodities

1942-49
Price controls and food rationing during wartime emergency

1946
National School Lunch Act; Research and Marketing Act provides for research in improving marketing and distribution of agricultural products

1948, 1949
Agricultural Acts incorporate principle of flexible price support and provide change in parity formula

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