Tolley, Howard Ross

Tolley, Howard Ross

(1889–1958) agricultural economist; born in Howard County, Ind. In 1912 he moved to Washington, D.C., as a mathematician for the Coast and Geodetic Survey, then started working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1915). At the Office of Farm Management he initiated research on economic aspects of farming. When the Bureau of Agricultural Economics (BAE) opened (1923), he helped develop a research program to generate data as well as techniques for analyzing farm problems. He left in 1930 for the University of California's Giannini Foundation for Agricultural Economics, but returned to Washington at President Franklin Roosevelt's request to assist with New Deal farm programs. At the Agricultural Adjustment Administration he developed a conservation-oriented plan (1933–35). In 1944 he administered the AAA and in 1946 returned to the BAE as its chief. He advocated cash supports, quota systems, and restricted acreage for certain crops. He helped organize the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (1943) and was one of its chief economists. He quit to join the Ford Foundation as director of the Washington office (1951–54). He wrote The Farmer, Citizen at War (1943) and articles for the Journal of Farm Economics.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.