||May -- The Emergency Assistance Act of 1978 is passed to aid wheat, feed grain and
cotton producers. Under President Jimmy Carter, the Farmer-Held Grain Reserve
Program is formed to limit grain production and control food price
fluctuations. At this time there are 2.5 million farms in the U.S., averaging
||February -- A tractor procession of farmers from the American Agriculture Movement arrives
in Washington to lobby Congress for higher prices. The protest leads Secretary
of Agriculture Bob Bergland to propose a full-scale national dialogue on the
future of American agriculture in order to develop a more workable policy.
||January -- When the U.S.S.R invades Afghanistan, President Carter declares a grain
embargo. This, combined with an extremely hot summer, make 1980 a difficult
year for many farmers. Disaster loans for farmers total $30 million for feed
alone. Congress passed a new crop insurance program in the fall to assist
||President Ronald Reagan lifts the grain embargo and signs an agreement with the
U.S.S.R. to export 9 million tons of grain per year for the next five years.
||The annual income per farm, after expenses, is $9,000, while the average debt
per farm, including mortgages, totals more than $30,000. Crop prices drop, and
many farms and some small banks become bankrupt.
||Jim Jordan and his family are featured in an article about how hard it is for
young farmers to start farming, in the Des Moines Register and Tribune. As a
result of the article, they were offered a farm to rent, where they lived and
worked for seven years.
||The average size of U.S. farms has more than doubled since 1945, from 195 acres
to 440 acres. In that time, the average cost of running a farm has increased
almost 20 times, requiring an investment of $100,000 to $500,000. More than
half of all farms are rented, and many farms are owned by business partnerships
or corporations rather than individuals.
||Russel and Mary Jane Jordan face their last year at Troublesome Creek. In order
to preserve the farm and pass it on to their son Jim, they auction off all of
their belongings to cover their bank debt of $220,000.
||The Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform Act (FAIR) is signed by
President Bill Clinton. FAIR, the most ambitious federal farm program since the
Roosevelt years, allows for domestic and export markets rather than the federal
government to determine crop production. FAIR includes provisions for rural
economic development and encourages farmers to practice conservation methods
through incentives. It will remain in effect until 2003.