By Bruce L. Gardner
American agriculture within the 20th century has given the realm considered one of its nice good fortune tales, a paradigm of productiveness and many. but the tale has its darkish part, from the plight of the Okies within the Thirties to the farm trouble of the Eighties to trendy matters approximately low crop costs and the influence of biotechnology. taking a look at U.S. farming over the last century, Bruce Gardner searches out motives for either the amazing development and the power social difficulties that experience marked the historical past of yank agriculture. Gardner records either the commercial problems that experience faced farmers and the technological and monetary adjustments that experience lifted them from relative poverty to fiscal parity with the nonfarm inhabitants. He offers a close research of the reasons of those tendencies, with emphasis at the position of presidency motion. He stories how commodity aid courses, pushed by way of interest-group politics, have spent countless numbers of billions of bucks to little objective. still, Gardner concludes that by way of reconciling competing monetary pursuits whereas fostering productiveness development and fiscal integration of the farm and nonfarm economies, the general twentieth-century function of presidency in American agriculture within reason considered as a triumph of democracy. (20030101)
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Additional resources for American Agriculture in the Twentieth Century: How It Flourished and What It Cost
The decline in price (adjusted for inﬂation) is an indicator of capital used up, and this plus the cost of funds tied up in the equipment constitutes the relevant economic content of the rental price of capital. The practical problem—obtaining appropriate depreciation measures from used equipment markets—remains. The most carefully and fully developed information available at present is that made available by Timothy Cross and Gregory Perry (1995) for tractors, plows, certain planters, com- 42 42 American Agriculture bines, balers, and other harvesting and cultivating equipment.
This approach would be meaningful if there were only one scarce input. But the constraints upon output are multiple, and change over time. Analysts of productivity up to medieval times in western Europe focused on seed that was planted (rather than eaten) as the key scarce resource in food production, and often measured yield as the ratio of grain harvested to grain planted as seed (see van Bath 1963). Measurement of productivity in manufacturing has focused on labor productivity as measured by output per worker (or output divided by hours of work).
Cattle sold actually produced much of their beef value in earlier years. In the years before 1910, the approach used by analysts was to multiply an assumed rate of weight gain to the beginning inventory of cattle. This means the estimated changes from year to year in livestock output did not incorporate production variations resulting from changes in the grass available in pastures or in the feeding rate for a particular year. And changes in productivity that took the form of an increase in the rate of conversion of feed to meat were incorporated only by changing the assumed rate of weight gain.
American Agriculture in the Twentieth Century: How It Flourished and What It Cost by Bruce L. Gardner