By Bruce L. Gardner
American agriculture within the 20th century has given the area one in every of its nice luck tales, a paradigm of productiveness and lots. but the tale has its darkish facet, from the plight of the Okies within the Nineteen Thirties to the farm main issue of the Eighties to contemporary issues approximately low crop costs and the effect of biotechnology. taking a look at U.S. farming over the last century, Bruce Gardner searches out causes for either the impressive growth and the power social difficulties that experience marked the background of yankee agriculture. Gardner files either the commercial problems that experience faced farmers and the technological and financial modifications that experience lifted them from relative poverty to fiscal parity with the nonfarm inhabitants. He offers a close research of the factors of those tendencies, with emphasis at the function of presidency motion. He stories how commodity help courses, pushed by means of interest-group politics, have spent countless numbers of billions of greenbacks to little function. still, Gardner concludes that through reconciling competing financial pursuits whereas fostering productiveness progress and financial integration of the farm and nonfarm economies, the final twentieth-century position of presidency in American agriculture is reasonably seen as a triumph of democracy. (20030101)
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Extra info for American Agriculture in the Twentieth Century: How It Flourished and What It Cost
Selective breeding of domestic animals goes back to the dawn of human history. Recently improved understanding of the genetic basis for selective breeding, and better methods for applying genetic knowledge, have led to big improvements in the yield of traditional crops. The greatest success story was the huge yield increases resulting from the development of hybrid corn. The Great Depression notwithstanding, Iowa farmers went from negligible acreage devoted to hybrid corn in 1930 to 90 percent of corn acreage in 1940.
Milk per cow rose from 12,000 pounds annually in 1980–81 to 14,900 pounds in 1990–91, while wheat yields rose from 33 bushels per acre in 1980 to 39 bushels in 1990. But even though the numerical gain is much larger for milk, in percentage terms the rate of gain is quite similar, 24 percent for milk and 18 percent for wheat. S. cropland harvested (excluding orchard acreage). This graph, as many of those that follow in this book, begins at 1910 rather than 1900 as might be thought more natural in a book about twentieth-century agriculture.
The vast literature on the index number problem, which arises in many areas of applied economics, has suggested a number of ways to estimate the “true” percentage rate of increase of an aggregate. The most attractive appears to be the “ideal” index developed by Irving Fisher, which replaces the end-point price weights by the mean of the two. This is equivalent to the geometric mean of the Laspeyres and Paasche indexes, that is, the square root of 280 × 161, or 212. But there is no guarantee this Technology 37 37 estimate is accurate.
American Agriculture in the Twentieth Century: How It Flourished and What It Cost by Bruce L. Gardner