But Rolf Christen, a cattle farmer in Missouri who was at one time an enthusiastic member of his local farm bureau’s board, tells a different story. The second article written in summarization, talked about the farmers need to be organized. During the war years, Farm Bureau worked successfully for extension of the 3½ percent interest rate on farm loans through the Farm Credit Administration. Farm Bureau fought to protect farm prices from ceiling levels being placed too low relative to parity.
Farm Bureau complained that the AAA plan was not being properly carried out, because Congress failed to furnish enough funds to make full parity payments. As a growing organization, Farm Bureau expanded its program of member involvement and leadership training. Farm Bureau told President Roosevelt that farmers were prepared to meet the challenge of the impending emergency-the problem was “the farmer has not been adequately paid his income for the past 10 years, being $2 billion a year short of parity.” By 1940, there were 6.1 million farms in the U.S.
, down over 288,000 from 1930. Farm price legislation discussions turned to stabilization of farm prices without stimulating overproduction of commodities. The fight continued over price levels and subsidies, with AFBF President O’Neal objecting to attempts to turn the CCC into what he called “a giant Santa Claus to distribute rebates and bonuses to the public whether they need them or not.” Farm Bureau favored parity of income between farm and non farm sectors. Farm Bureau won a major victory when Congress passed a permanent, long range price support program for basic agricultural commodities, with parity based price supports to be adjusted according to a 10 year moving average.
Voting delegates approved an increase in state Farm Bureau dues to the AFBF from 50 cents per member per year to 75 cents. Farm Bureau pushed to open export opportunities overseas, so U.S. food production could take advantage of ready markets around the world. The pre World War II years of 1939-41 were marked by attempts to change the Agricultural Adjustment Act. Farm Bureau also maintained its positions favoring increased soil fertility and conservation, and a leading role in ag research for the land grant colleges.
With increasing prosperity, disputes arose between Congress and the Roosevelt administration over farm subsidies. Brannan wasted no time in recommending a program to allow the department to exercise control over agricultural production as part of the farm program. “It may not come in the near future,” he said, “but it is on its way and we must prepare to meet it.
” Unemployment was a major post war issue, and Farm Bureau announced support for government programs to combat it. The crop price situation and growing war problems received much attention at the Baltimore convention in 1940. A Farm Bureau study in 1947 concluded that reciprocal trade agreements boosted U.S. relations with other countries, and resulted in increased exports and more stable imports.
It also advocated a sound, permanent and independent Farm Credit Administration, legislation against restraint of trade, satisfactory method of handling labor disputes affecting perishable and semi perishable agricultural commodities, and protection of agriculture’s interest in all trade agreements. Parity based agricultural loans on basic farm commodities, still a part of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, as amended in 1938, were due to expire at the end of 1948. Agriculture Secretary Henry Wallace said farm production controls would be needed to meet the challenges of the war in Europe and at the same time to prepare for the changes that would come when peace returned.
The war had damaged farm production in many major countries, leading to widespread hunger in the world and farmers thus free of worry about surplus production. The meeting was there after referred to as the “war convention.” The escalation of war brought on price controls. The average farm size was 174 acres, compared to 157 acres 10 years earlier. These and other laws designed to protect farm income were soon to come in for a long period of controversial post war adjustments.
O’Neal gaveled to order the first peacetime annual AFBF convention in five years on Dec. 18, 1945, in Chicago. In conclusion, the Farm Bureau supported many things and had important points to back up there reasoning.