The American Farmer and the Export Market

The American Farmer and the Export Market

AUSTIN A. DOWELL
OSCAR B. JESNESS
Copyright Date: 1934
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 274
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttstq8
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  • Book Info
    The American Farmer and the Export Market
    Book Description:

    The American Farmer and the Export Market was first published in 1934. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. Shall we isolate ourselves behind the walls of national self-sufficiency and do without what we cannot produce? Or shall we try to break down trade barriers and restore export markets? How can we escape the intolerable combination of abundance and poverty? “We have enough resources in the United States to provide for twice our present standard of living,” Secretary Wallace has asserted. This book is the most comprehensive analysis yet published of the problems that must be solved, the long-time plans that must be thought out, before America can abolish its “rural slums” and achieve the full benefit of its enormous resources. Self-sufficiency and continued or increased exportation each has its price. Professors Dowell and Jesness show just what we may expect to gain or to lose from reducing production, shifting crops, abandoning sub-marginal land, boosting farm prices, and legislating trade barriers. They point out the relationship between agricultural and industrial recovery and between our policy in regard to world markets and the possibility of collecting our foreign debts. The authors present facts, not theories – the pertinent facts on both sides of the most vital question that the American farmer faces today – After the AAA, what?

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3771-7
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-2)

    WE ARE in the midst of trying to find a way out of one of the worst depressions in the history of the world. In the United States during much of the decade beginning in 1920 it was chiefly agriculture that was affected. Since 1929, however, the depression has spread to other industries with the result that still worse conditions have been created for agriculture.

    Attack upon the problem is being made along a wide front. The agricultural adjustment program aims to bring back the prices of farm products to their pre-war relationship to other prices. Curtailment of output is...

  4. I. THE FARM PLANT
    • Chapter 1 FARMING AS AN INDUSTRY
      (pp. 3-11)

      EVER since the break in prices of farm products that came in 1920, following the high prices of the war period, “overproduction” has been the popular answer to the question, What’s wrong with American agriculture? Given this explanation of the farmers’ ills, the remedy that naturally suggests itself is curtailment of production. Why has not this remedy been applied by the farmers themselves?

      In the manufacturing industries it is customary rather than unusual to cushion a fall in prices by reducing output. Why not in agriculture? Some think it is sheer stupidity on the part of the farmer that prevents...

    • Chapter 2 OUR FARM RESOURCES
      (pp. 12-30)

      THE economical production of agricultural products depends upon many factors, chief among which are climate, soil, topography, and distance from market. These factors limit the choice not only of crops but of livestock, for the class or classes of livestock grown in any given territory depend upon the available pasture, hay, and feed crops. Thus we find man’s agricultural activities, and hence the agricultural development of the country, limited by conditions over which he has little control.

      From an agricultural standpoint, nature has dealt more kindly with the United States than with most other countries of the world. Located in...

    • Chapter 3 CROP PRODUCTION
      (pp. 31-53)

      THE preceding chapter on the physical and economic environment of American agriculture is the background for a consideration of the development of crop and livestock production in this and the following chapter. Precipitation, temperature, topography, and quality of soil are the factors that limit the adaptability of crops to a given region, while transportation is the key that has opened the door to new territory, thus bringing it in touch with the markets of the world.

      Because of its accessibility to Europeans the Atlantic Coast of the United States was settled first, in spite of the fact that the soil...

    • Chapter 4 LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION
      (pp. 54-65)

      PRONOUNCED shifts have likewise taken place in livestock production. Not only have the centers of production been constantly shifting but there has been a marked change in the type and efficiency of farm animals. The former development has been due largely to shifts in crop production, and the latter is the result of improved breeding and feeding practices and adaptations to changes in market demands.

      As we have seen, crop production has become centered in fairly definite regions, which are determined by moisture, temperature, topography, soil, and nearness to market. Livestock production, on the other hand, is less directly controlled...

    • Chapter 5 THE EXPORT SURPLUS
      (pp. 66-86)

      THE question of national self-sufficiency versus the production of agricultural products for export has been one of the most perplexing problems confronting the farmers of the United States since the crash in prices in 1920. For many generations our farmers had been accustomed to produce to the limit of their individual capacities. As mentioned earlier in this discussion, falling prices from the close of the Civil War to 1896 failed to check the rush of population into the fertile lands of the central and far West. Farm products were produced in ever increasing quantities. From 1897 to 1914 the rising...

  5. II. THE HOME MARKET
    • Chapter 6 WILL POPULATION GROWTH ABSORB THE SURPLUS?
      (pp. 87-100)

      IN 1790, the year of the first census, the United States had a population of 3,929,000. This figure was nearly doubled in the next twenty years, the census of 1810 showing 7,240,000. By 1850 the population had increased to 23,192,000; in 1880 it was 50,156,000; in 1900, 75,995,000. The 100 million mark was passed between 1910 and 1920, and in 1930 the census reported 122,775,000, a total nearly ten times as great as that of a century earlier. Rapid population growth has been characteristic of the development of the United States.

      The population grew rapidly not only because of the...

    • Chapter 7 CAN WE HOPE FOR INCREASED CONSUMPTION?
      (pp. 101-113)

      IT HAS been frequently said during this period of depression that agriculture is suffering from “underconsumption” rather than “overproduction.” The interpretation of this statement may vary all the way from the conclusion that the distinction is a purely academic one to the conclusion that every effort should be made to increase consumption. As suggested earlier, the distinction is far from being a merely academic one, because the proper procedure of adjustment depends upon whether it is production or consumption that demands attention, or both.

      We are concerned here primarily with the question of agricultural exports rather than with the depression...

    • Chapter 8 WILL THE REMOVAL OF SUBMARGINAL LAND SOLVE THE SURPLUS PROBLEM?
      (pp. 114-124)

      MARGINAL agricultural land is ordinarily defined as no-rent land. In other words, it is land the agricultural use of which yields returns just sufficient to cover operating costs, leaving nothing for the land. The term “submarginal” is applied to land that fails to yield even this return, that is, land the return from which is insufficient to pay labor and capital employed upon it at the normal rates. It must be understood, of course, that the term “return” is used in this definition to mean the average return over a considerable period rather than that received during a particularly favorable...

    • Chapter 9 THE FARMER IS BECOMING MORE EFFICIENT
      (pp. 125-136)

      INCREASED output may be the result of many independent factors, such as a greater number of workers, improved mental and physical condition of the working population, a longer working day or year, advances in mechanical equipment, better breeding, feeding, and management of livestock, improvement in the adaptability of varieties and in cultural methods, increased use of fertilizers, and the elimination of waste.

      Obviously expansion of production in this country in recent years has not been due to an increase of workers, for the number of people on farms has been declining during most of the time since 1910. Nor would...

    • Chapter 10 THE POSSIBILITY OF SHIFTING FROM EXPORT TO IMPORT CROPS
      (pp. 137-152)

      THOSE who are engaged in the production of the great American staples are likely to conclude that the United States is a net exporter of agricultural products. Such was its status prior to, during, and just after the World War, but in recent years the country has had a net import balance. In the period 1926–30 it varied from $267,000,000 to $561,000,000. This rapid shift has been due chiefly to an enormous increase in imports, of which there were a total of $1,892,000,000 in 1930 as compared with an average of $813,000,000 for the period 1909–13. Exports, on...

    • Chapter 11 IS NATIONAL SELF-SUFFICIENCY PRACTICABLE?
      (pp. 153-160)

      WE HAVE stated that the farmers of the United States are faced with one of two alternatives, either reducing production to national needs, which we have termed the path of isolation or national self-sufficiency, or continuing to produce for the export market.

      So far our study has been confined to the possibility of achieving the former, namely, national self-sufficiency. We have found that during the eleven year period 1920–30 our net direct and indirect exports averaged the equivalent of nearly 60 million crop acres a year, or almost one acre of every six in crops. The trend in exports...

  6. III. THE EXPORT MARKET
    • Chapter 12 THE PLACE OF THE AMERICAN FARMER IN WORLD COMPETITION
      (pp. 161-183)

      THE United States ranks first among the nations of the world in the production of agricultural products. With less than 4 per cent of the farmers of the world,¹ it produces over 60 per cent of the corn, 60 per cent of the cotton, over a third of the tobacco, a fourth of the oats and hay, a fifth of the wheat, 13 per cent of the barley, 12.5 per cent of the flax, and 4 per cent of the rye. Of these crops, cotton, tobacco, wheat, barley, and rice are clearly on an export basis. Corn, though exported only...

    • Chapter 13 TARIFF FUNDAMENTALS
      (pp. 184-195)

      THE tariff has played such an important rôle in public policy in the United States and is so definitely a factor in our foreign trade situation that a consideration of it has a place in this discussion. Before taking up the relation of the tariff to specific commodities a brief review of certain fundamentals may be given as a background.

      Import duties which are effective may be looked upon as a form of taxation. A revenue tariff, which is levied to provide funds for the support of government, is obviously a tax. A protective tariff, the primary purpose of which...

    • Chapter 14 PROTECTION OF FARM PRODUCTS
      (pp. 196-209)

      IN EARLIER days most lines of agriculture were so predominantly on an export basis in the United States that the support of farmers for the policy of protection was sought primarily on the ground that they would benefit from the development of the “home” market. More recently, however, a larger number of farm products have been on the list of protected goods, and agricultural support has been obtained because of the direct benefit farmers receive from the tariff. In view of this fact, a brief review of the tariff on the most important agricultural commodities is given in this chapter....

    • Chapter 15 INTERNATIONAL DEBTS A PART OF THE EXPORT PROBLEM
      (pp. 210-219)

      AS WE have said, international debts play an important part in international trade, and in the long run goods are the medium in which these obligations are paid. It is for this reason that it is normal for a debtor country to have a favorable balance of trade and a creditor country an unfavorable balance. The exports of the debtor country pay not only for its imports but also for interest charges. The creditor country receives payment of interest in addition to the price of its imports.

      The United States occupied the position of a debtor nation from the time...

    • Chapter 16 GOVERNMENTAL POLICIES IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE
      (pp. 220-234)

      ATTENTION has already been given to the trade policies of the United States. We have seen that for a long time it has followed a policy of protection, particularly since the Civil War. The general effect of the tariff acts of 1921 and 1922 was to increase protection, and the act of 1930 raised the tariff wall still higher. What of the policies of other nations? Detailed consideration of them would fill a volume in itself. Even a brief review of them, however, will be helpful in arriving at a better understanding of the present situation.

      While trade restrictions are...

    • Chapter 17 WHAT OF THE FUTURE?
      (pp. 235-270)

      WE HAVE shown how important a place exports have played and are playing in the agricultural life of the nation. Will this continue to be the case? The authors do not presume to prophesy. They are not seers to whom the future is an open book. Rather than to attempt an unequivocal answer to this question, they regard it as more fruitful to review various angles of the problem that need to be considered and to illustrate how the choice of solutions to them will determine the issue.

      The answer to the question lies to a large extent in the...

  7. Back Matter
    (pp. 271-271)