||Due to a constant cost-price squeeze, farmers have no control over the cost of
necessary goods or the price of their produce. Most small and poor farms are
taken over by bigger operations. The income from cultivating 50 to 100 acres of
land is not enough to provide the amenities of modern life.
||The Rural Development Program is founded to offer assistance to rural
communities in poverty. A departmental study at the time found that 2,849,000
farmers out of a total of 5,370,000 earned less than $1,000 per year.
||September -- President Lyndon B. Johnson establishes the President's National Advisory
Committee on Rural Poverty to study rural poverty in-depth and to raise the
standard of living in rural communities. The committee's 1967 report, "The
People Left Behind," recommended expansion of food stamp programs, improvement
of education, and the construction of community health centers and low-cost
housing in rural areas.
Control of overproduction became a primary goal in farm policy under the
Johnson administration. Farmers were subsidized to take a portion of their land
out of production and the Department of Agriculture worked to expand the export
market. Farmers' income increased to about 75 percent that of non-farm workers.
||Many large commercial farms have incorporated land from smaller farms, and
farmhouses and barns are torn down to make room for more crops, changing the
face of rural America. However, most farmers retain traditional agrarian
values, according to informal surveys. As the cost of modern farming rises,
farmers buy more land and equipment on bank loans.
||December -- A new Farm Credit Act is approved, establishing a Farm Credit System
incorporating federal land banks and banks for cooperatives. Provisions of the
act allowed for greater flexibility in consolidating bank securities and
coordinating rural credit activities.
||August -- A new Rural Development Act is signed by President Richard Nixon, authorizing
financial and technical assistance to farm areas and small communities. The
amount authorized was much less than amounts authorized by his predecessors. Nixon also
phased out subsidies for non-production of agricultural goods. Net farm income
grew during this period to $33.3 billion in 1973.
||Farm size has almost doubled since 1940. The average farm is 385 acres,
compared to 174 acres in 1940. The average cost of running a farm has
increased almost 300 percent since 1950. Most farmers cannot pay the high
production costs out of their yearly earnings and need to borrow.
||The demand for U.S. grain, which had increased during the 1970s due to poor grain
harvests abroad, particularly in the U.S.S.R, falls dramatically. As a result,
prices dropped, and annual farm income plummeted to $18.7 billion.