Agricultural Adjustment Administration


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Agricultural Adjustment Administration

(AAA), former U.S. government agency established (1933) in the Dept. of Agriculture under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal program. Its purpose was to help farmers by reducing production of staple crops, thus raising farm prices and encouraging more diversified farming. Farmers were given benefit payments in return for limiting acreage given to staple crops; in the case of cotton and tobacco coercive taxes forced (1934–35) farmers to cut the amounts that they marketed. In 1936 the Supreme Court declared important sections of the act invalid, but Congress promptly adopted (1936) the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act, which encouraged conservation by paying benefits for planting soil-building crops instead of staple crops. The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 empowered the AAA in years of good crops to make loans to farmers on staple crop yields and to store the surplus produce, which it could then release in years of low yield. Soil conservation was continued, and farmers could by two-thirds vote adopt compulsory marketing quotas (as they did for cotton and tobacco). In World War II the AAA turned its attention to increasing food production to meet war needs. It was renamed (1942) the Agricultural Adjustment Agency, and in 1945 its functions were taken over by the Production and Marketing Administration.

Bibliography

See E. G. Nourse et al., Three Years of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (1937, repr. 1971); G. V. L. Perkins, Crisis in Agriculture (1969).

References in periodicals archive ?
About 25 percent of the Florida production was distributed through the Florida Citrus Exchange.(38) All three organizations were active proponents of federal marketing agreements, and the California Fruit Growers Exchange, in particular, developed close ties with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.(39) Most production in California was concentrated within a radius of 90 miles around Los Angeles, and the Florida growing region was a rectangle of approximately 300 by 150 miles in the middle of the state.(40) Finally, since oranges were a perishable crop, inventories that could depress prices were less of a problem than for other commodities.
In the 1930s, however, federal intervention in southern agriculture, through the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) and its successors, provided large landholders with new powers in the form of allotments and benefits, while providing them with the means with which to escape their old dependence on tenants and croppers.
But hysteria triumphed and arbitrary power was unleashed in a profusion of new government agencies exercising dangerous and unconstitutional powers: the Office of Price Administration (OPA), the Office of Production Management (OPM), the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the Surplus Commodity Corporation (SCC), etc.
Farm owners in Iowa or Mississippi were to decide on acreage restrictions in their areas and sign contracts with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. Workers in their factories were to decide which union, if any, they wanted to represent them and have the National Labor Relations Board validate their choices through secret-ballot elections.

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